A.J. Burnett pitched six innings without giving up a hit before his offense broke open a close game in the New York Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
Burnett (2-0), who joined the Yankees as a free agent from Toronto, kept the American League champions scoreless until the seventh, when the Rays had three consecutive singles to score their two runs. The right-hander struck out nine and walked one.
“He was pretty solid for eight innings,” Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria, who was struck out twice by Burnett, told reporters. “It’s tough as a hitter to give in and tip your hat to a guy, but give credit where credit is due.”
New York’s Mark Teixeira broke the 2-2 deadlock with a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the eighth before the Yankees scored four runs in the ninth, with Derek Jeter hitting a two-out three-run homer.
Nick Swisher also homered for the Yankees, who lost to the Rays 15-5 on Monday.
Tampa Bay did not have a hit until Carl Crawford led off the seventh with the first of three consecutive singles. Carlos Pena, with the third single, made it a 2-1 game and Pat Burrell followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the score.
Burnett, who pitched a no-hitter in 2001, admitted he had been hoping for another.
“Everybody was thinking about it, even me,” Burnett said. “I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t. I was putting the ball where I wanted to. It definitely could have happened, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
ATHLETICS 6, RED SOX 5, 12 INNINGS
At Oakland, California, Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was withdrawn after just one inning of the Red Sox’s loss to the Oakland Athletics, with arm fatigue blamed for his concession of five runs on five hits.
The Japanese right-hander faced 10 batters in the shortest start of his career and allowed four singles, a double and two walks, Major League Baseball’s official Web site, mlb.com, said.
He was unable to strike out a batter in the 43-pitch outing and although Boston (2-6) fought back to tie the game, the visitors were edged out in the 12th inning.
Matsuzaka’s last performance was also below par when he pitched five-and-a-third innings in last Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay, giving up nine hits and four runs in that game.
The Japanese ace started three games in his country’s World Baseball Classic victory last month and was named MVP for the tournament.
In Tuesday’s other games it was:
• Mariners 3, Angels 2, 10 innings
• Twins 3, Blue Jays 2, 11 innings
• Royals 9, Indians 3
• Orioles 7, Rangers 5, 10 innings
AP, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Dan Uggla drove in three runs and Chris Volstad and two relievers combined on a four-hitter as 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.
Volstad (2-0) gave up three hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out four and walked two while lowering his ERA to 1.50. He has allowed only five hits in 12 innings.
Uggla drove in two runs with a third-inning single off Javier Vazquez (0-1), who struck out 12 in six innings.
Kelly Johnson led off the fourth with his third homer for Atlanta’s first hit off Volstad. Leo Nunez and Matt Lindstrom each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Volstad.