One day after Sabathia and the bullpen combined on a three-hitter, Burnett and two relievers authored a suffocating one-hitter against the punchless Mets, a 5-0 victory Saturday night in a runaway Subway Series.
“You can say I was inspired, definitely,” Burnett said. “I thought about his game all last night. And I’ve told him a handful of times over the season, ‘I can’t wait to throw behind you, Big Man, I can’t wait.”’
“I wanted it down a little more. That was one of those pitches where as soon as I let it go, I saw him hitting it,” Burnett said. “Before he even hit it, I knew it was going to be a base hit.”
Cora had been 0 for 21 against Burnett (6-4).
“Every time I play against him, he’s got great stuff,” Cora said. “I was due, man.”
Nick Swisher(notes) and Jorge Posada(notes) made Citi Field seem small with opposite-field homers off Tim Redding(notes) (1-3). The Yankees, starting Burnett behind Sabathia for the first time, have won four of five against the Mets this season, outscoring them 40-15.
“It is what you imagine,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We do expect them to pitch at a very high level.”
The Mets, who didn’t reach base after Cora, have been outscored 14-1 and outhit 22-4 in the first two games of the weekend series. They made out 1-2-3 in 14 of 18 innings.
“We’ll need a break here or there or error, something like that to, you know, amass any type of threat,” manager Jerry Manuel said.
The Yankees have won four of five against their crosstown rivals, clinching the season series for the first time since sweeping all six meetings in 2003. In their final meeting this regular season, Chien-Ming Wang(notes) (0-6) starts for the Yankees in search of his first win since June 15 last year, with the Mets pitching Livan Hernandez(notes) (5-2).
Burnett beat the Mets and Santana 15-0 on June 14 at new Yankee Stadium, allowing four singles in seven innings. Coming off a five-game suspension for throwing high and tight to Texas’ Nelson Cruz(notes) on June 2, he struck out a season-high 10 in seven innings and walked three. Brian Bruney(notes) and David Robertson(notes) each followed with a perfect inning before 41,302, the second straight record crowd at Citi Field and just the fourth sellout there this season.
Cora’s single came on the 80th of Burnett’s 108 pitches. Girardi said he probably would have limited Burnett to 115.
“You probably weren’t going to make your pitch count anyway, so don’t let that one hit bother you,” the manager remembered telling him. “That’s a tough call on a manager when you get in that situation.”
Burnett pitched a no-hitter for Florida against San Diego in 2001—despite nine walks. He wanted another.
“I was pretty much shooting for it, you know, from probably the fourth on,” he said.
“That’s when you start thinking it might happen,” Burnett said. “To have guys out there running around and diving everywhere makes you go harder.”
Just two opposite-field homers were hit in the first 37 games at Citi Field, by Washington’s Nick Johnson(notes) (April 24) and Adam Dunn(notes) (May 26). The Yankees had three in two games, starting with Alex Rodriguez’s(notes) drive in the eighth inning Friday, the first by a right-handed batter.
Swisher homered to left-center in the third, and the Yankees broke it open in the sixth with hits on four consecutive pitches. Mark Teixeira(notes) doubled off the bottom of the wall in right-center and scored when Rodriguez singled. Robinson Cano(notes) doubled against the base of the fence in the left-field corner, and Posada finished Redding with a homer to left-center.
After Friday’s win, Girardi watched a replay of Sabathia’s effort.
“His stuff looked better to me on TV than it actually did in person,” he said. “I might tune in on A.J. when I get home, as well, because I guess I can’t get enough of good pitching.”
NOTES: Eleven of Swisher’s 14 homers have come on the road. … The Yankees’ previous one-hitter also was against the Mets, by Mike Mussina(notes), Ron Villone(notes), Scott Proctor(notes), Kyle Farnsworth(notes) and Mariano Rivera(notes) on June 30, 2006.