Not enthused about adding another doubleheader to their already busy schedule, the New York Yankees were willing to wait out a lengthy rain delay and spend a late night in the Bronx to get in a game.
As a result, they still have a chance to beat the Baltimore Orioles twice in one day.
Not even 11 hours after finishing their last game, the AL East-leading Yankees look to sweep the New York leg of their series with the Orioles on Wednesday.
New York (87-53) and Baltimore started their game Tuesday at 11:08 p.m. after a rain delay of 4 hours, 3 minutes. The Yankees won 5-3, with the game ending at 2:15 a.m. in front of approximately 500 fans.
New York went ahead 4-3 in the seventh inning on a controversial home run by Francisco Cervelli(notes). Brett Gardner(notes) followed with an undisputed homer, and the Yankees won their sixth in a row to remain 2 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.
MLB decided to play the game in part because there were few options left for a makeup date. These teams already gave up an off day Thursday to make up a previous rainout in Baltimore.
“Doubleheaders are hard on your guys,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Both scenarios weren’t great.”
The advantage Wednesday could go to the pitchers, considering they should be a bit more rested than position players functioning on limited sleep.
After going 1-2 with an 11.91 ERA in five August starts, Burnett seemed like the obvious choice in New York’s six-man rotation for a demotion to the bullpen.
His job was essentially on the line when he took the ball Thursday against the Red Sox, and the right-hander rose to the occasion. He allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 victory, although he didn’t get the win.
Burnett credits some of the improvement to an adjustment in his delivery. He changed the position of his hands at the start of his windup.
“I’ve only really been working on that for three days,” he said. “I’ve been pitching the same way for 11 years so it’s a big change, but as the game went on I felt more comfortable.”
He is eager to see how the adjustment works against a Baltimore team that knocked him around for nine runs and nine hits in five innings of a 12-5 loss Aug. 26. Mark Reynolds(notes) and J.J. Hardy(notes) each homered off Burnett in that game, and have regularly given him problems.
Reynolds is 5 for 10 with three home runs and two doubles against Burnett, while Hardy is 6 for 17.
Burnett is 1-2 with a 7.91 ERA in three starts this year against the Orioles, who have nonetheless lost 13 of 16 to New York in 2011.
In winning his third straight start since a stint on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder, Britton allowed two runs and four hits in six innings of Friday’s 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay.
“Zach has come back strong and that bodes well for him in the future,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Britton has posted a 1.50 ERA in his last three outings after recording a 24.16 ERA in losing his previous three before going on the DL.
He has made a start against the Yankees during each of those streaks.
In the Bronx on July 30, the left-hander recorded just one out while getting shelled for nine runs and seven hits in a 17-3 loss. The rookie didn’t seem fazed by that beating when he yielded four hits in seven innings of a 2-0 victory over the Yankees in a rematch in Baltimore on Aug. 28.