It didn’t really matter what A.J. Burnett did last night given how well Roy Halladay pitched. Halladay faced the minimum through 6 1/3 thanks to a questionable call by second-base umpire Chuck Meriwether who called Johnny Damon out trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning. Fittingly, it was a Damon double that broke Halladay’s streak with one out in the seventh. After Mark Teixeira struck out, Alex Rodriguez delivered a two-out RBI single to plate Damon, but that was all the Yankees would get. Halladay erased a Melky Cabrera single in the eighth with a double play and stranded a lead-off Ramiro Peña double in the ninth. He threw 72 of 103 pitches for strikes, got 17 of his 27 outs on the ground, five more by strikeout, and two more on pop-ups, and picked up his first complete game of the year, pushing his record to 7-1. The game took just two hours and 22 minutes to play.
Fun stat: Since 2003, Halladay leads all major league pitchers in shutouts with 36. CC Sabathia is second with 26. Since 2006, however, Sabathia leads Halladay 22 to 21.
As for Burnett, he gave up three runs in the fourth after loading the bases on an Alex Rios double and two walks. Scott Rolen doubled down the left field line to plate two, and after Lyle Overbay struck out, Rod Barajas brought the third run home with a sac fly. Still, it seemed we were getting the pitching duel we had hoped for when Burnett held the Jays there and took the mound in the bottom of the eight trailing Halladay 3-1. Then Aaron Hill homered to make it 4-1 and Rios and Rolen teamed up again to plate a fifth run (via a walk, groundout, and RBI Rolen single) to bounce Burnett from the game and set the final score at 5-1.
A.J. was booed lustily throughout the game by the betrayed Blue Jays fans. Chants of “A.J. Sucks” echoed throughout the Rogers Centre (as did “Steroids” chants during Alex Rodriguez’s at-bats). One fan held up a sign that said “Roy > A.J.” Well, yeah. I think even he’d admit that.
In other news, Derek Jeter sat out with an oblique strain. He said it has been bothering him for about a week, but he hopes to play tomorrow night. He told Pete Abe, “I’ve pulled that muscle before and been on the disabled list two or three weeks. I’m trying to avoid that.” Hideki Matsui felt something in his hamstring coming out of the batters box on his second-inning groundout and was replaced by Nick Swisher before his next at-bat. Matsui claims it was just a cramp and he’ll be fine.
Meanwhile, in Scranton, Chien-Ming Wang threw six scoreless innings, getting his fair share of groundouts. Per Brian Cashman, he will make at least one more rehab start. Given Phil Hughes’ poor outing in Baltimore, it seems almost certain that Hughes will be optioned out when Wang returns.
Finally, the Yankees held a press conference to announce the beginning of the selling off of Yankee Stadium yesterday. Just in time for Father’s Day, you can spend $750 plus $80 shipping for a “commemorative” seat comprised of an original seat back and bottom and “commemorative” arms. Or you can buy some freeze-dried sod in glass display case that reads “Yankee Stadium Artifact” for just $80 plus $25 shipping. If there are any wealthy readers lurking out there who want to make a donation, I’d love to have my old bleacher seats, seats 5 and 6 from row JJ of section 37, just $770 with shipping. Ouch.