ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees needed a lift from A.J. Burnett.
The free-agent catch gave them that and more Tuesday night, flirting with a no-hitter before settling for a 7-2 victory over the AL champions that kept him unbeaten since signing an $82.5 million, five-year deal.
“I had good movement on everything. I was putting the ball where I wanted,” Burnett said after taking his no-hit bid into the seventh inning. “It definitely could have happened. But it wasn’t meant to be.”
Mark Teixeira, another of the Yankees’ high-priced offseason acquisitions, drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly off J.P. Howell (0-1) after missing New York’s previous three games with tendinitis in left wrist.
Derek Jeter added a three-run homer in the ninth for the Yankees, who were humbled 15-5 on Monday night.
Burnett (2-0) allowed one base runner until the seventh, when Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford fouled off three 0-2 pitches before lining a single to left and later scoring on Carlos Pena’s RBI single.
The Rays added a second run in the inning on Pat Burrell’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-all heading into the eighth, when the Yankees broke the tie with a double, single and Teixeira’s sacrifice fly.
“Sac flies aren’t sexy, but they get the job done,” Teixeira said.
Burnett allowed two runs and three hits, walked one and struck out nine in eight innings – taming a torrid offense that had 17 hits in each of its previous two games, scoring 26 runs in victories over Baltimore and the Yankees.
“You’re not going to score 10-plus runs every night,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We made a charge toward the end but couldn’t get it done.”
Jorge Posada had a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Matt Garza in the first inning. Swisher, obtained from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade, added a solo homer in the fourth before Garza settled down to keep the Rays in the game.
The Yankees broke it open in the ninth, scoring on Brett Gardner’s RBI double and Jeter’s shot off Dan Wheeler.
Twins 3, Blue Jays 2, 11 innings: At Minneapolis, Joe Crede’s double off the center-field fence in the 11th inning scored Justin Morneau from first base, giving Minnesota a victory over Toronto.
Royals 9, Indians 3: At Kansas City, Mo., John Buck broke open a tight game with a grand slam for his second homer of the night and had a career-high five RBIs for the Twins.
Orioles 7, Rangers 5, 10 innings: At Arlington, Texas, Adam Jones hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 10th inning and Baltimore held on to hand the Rangers their fifth straight loss.
Mariners 3, Angels 2, 10 innings: At Seattle, Franklin Gutierrez hit a leadoff double in the 10th inning and scoring the winning run on a throwing error by Angels pitcher Scot Shields.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 5, 12 innings: Travis Buck singled in Rajai Davis with the winning run in the bottom of the 12th.
White Sox at Tigers: The game was called due to rain. No makeup date has been announced.
NL: Marlins improve to 6-1
ATLANTA – Dan Uggla drove in three runs, Chris Volstad and two relievers combined on a four-hitter and the Florida Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Tuesday night.
The Marlins are a major league-best 6-1 – all against NL East opponents – for their best start since opening 8-1 in 1997, when they won the World Series.
Reds 6, Brewers 1: At Milwaukee, Bronson Arroyo allowed four hits in six-plus innings, leading Cincinnati over Milwaukee.