So if you’re just waking up and wondering how things went with the Yankees while you were sleeping, I don’t have a lot of good news to report. It all started out okay, as A.J. Burnett retired the first two Arizona hitters relatively quickly, prompting Michael Kay to wonder aloud if Burnett would be able to have a 1-2-3 first inning, which would be his first in nine starts. Justin Upton ended the suspense almost immediately by rocketing a 430-foot home run to straight-away center field. But that was only the beginning. Following Upton’s blast, five more hitters paraded to the plate with these results: single, single, home run, home run, double. Thankfully the game was being played under National League rules, so Burnett was able to stop the damage by striking out pitcher Rodrigo López, but it was already 5-0.
Burnett started the second inning the same as he had the first, by retiring Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew, but with two outs and the bases empty, the Diamondbacks had him right where they wanted him. Upton singled and promptly came home on a long double by Miguel Montero, bumping the lead to six.
The third inning was uneventful, but Burnett returned to his pattern in the fourth, retiring Johnson and Drew just as he had in the first and second innings. Upton drew a walk, stole second, then came home on a Montero single to put Arizona up by a touchdown. Burnett would retire the next hitter to escape without further damage, but it would still be the end of his night. Four innings pitched, nine hits, seven runs, three home runs — and all of that came after two were out in the inning.
Rodrígo López, meanwhile, was making like Greg Maddux. He kept the Yankee hitters off balance all night long by changing speeds (sound familiar?) and throwing strikes. He was so efficient, in fact, that 12 of the first 15 Yankee hitters started out with strike one, and ten of those twelve were called strikes. Brett Gardner managed four base hits (a slap to left, a drag bunt, and two other infield singles), but everyone else seemed to be just missing all night long. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodríguez seemed to end each at bat by tossing their bats away in frustration.
Even so, they were able to scratch out three runs to cut the lead to 7-3 while Chad Gaudin held down the fort with two scoreless innings of relief. Chan Ho Park follwed up with a scoreless seventh, and there were two moments when a big hit could’ve cut the lead down to something more manageable, but it never quite happened. CHP ran into some trouble in the eighth, putting two men on with two outs. (Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before.) Facing Upton, Park jumped out to an 0-2 advantage, but then quickly worked himself into a full count. Apparently worried about walking Upton, Park instead called timeout and ran into the dugout. He returned with a batter’s tee, set it down on home plate, placed the ball on the tee, and got out of the way. Upton deposited the ball 408 feet away in the left field stands, and the game was over. Diamondbacks 10, Yankees 4.
In other news, the Yankees decided that Phil Hughes will be skipped when his turn comes up this Friday. It’s probably a good thing, since the off-days allow them to move everyone else up without having to pitch on short rest, and it will help keep Hughes’s innings down. But coming when it did, while the team’s worst starter continued to spiral downward, it was troubling to learn that its best starter wouldn’t be back on the mound for more than a week.