Burnett, Yankees burned by Red Sox
Right-hander clashes with Posada on what pitches to throw
BOSTON -- The majority of A.J. Burnett's afternoon was spent whipping his neck to watch baseballs spray around Fenway Park and chastising himself in what seemed to be an ill-fated attempt to drown out the roaring crowd.
Needless to say, it was not the New England atmosphere the Yankees might have hoped for. Burnett's struggles at Fenway Park continued in epic fashion on Saturday, as the Red Sox battered the right-hander for a career-high nine runs in a 14-1 drubbing.
Though the Yankees downplayed it, Burnett again clashed with Jorge Posada, shaking off several pitches as they struggled to find a fluid rhythm.
"I didn't have a lot of conviction in my pitches today," Burnett said. "I threw a lot of balls that I didn't want to throw. That's pretty much what the outcome was."
Burnett liked what he saw from his curveball early, especially because he had trouble throwing his fastball to the corners. Posada thought the Red Sox might be getting wise to his sequences, and either way, the results weren't pretty.
"I tried to get on the same page as him," Posada said. "At times we were, and then we weren't a lot of times. It's frustrating, because, obviously, he wants to throw a certain pitch and I want to throw another one. When they're hitting like that, it's tough to get on the same page."
Burnett fell to 0-3 this season in Boston, a place where he has historically had success. But that was before he donned a Yankees uniform: pitching off Yawkey Way since then, he has allowed 22 runs (20 earned) in 12 2/3 innings, ringing up a 14.21 ERA.
"The rivalry is the rivalry, we're the Yankees and they're the Sox," Burnett said. "But if we were anybody else, I'd take it just as much to heart. Every game is important to me and to us, I believe. There's no added pressure. It's just a matter of that I haven't gotten it done here this year."
Kevin Youkilis homered twice and drove in six runs, sending a three-run shot onto Lansdowne Street off Burnett in the second inning. Alex Gonzalez and David Ortiz also touched Burnett for deep drives, as he allowed nine hits in five innings, walking two and striking out six.
"It's happened here a couple times," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't make too much of it, because he's thrown the ball so well. Sometimes you could take a snapshot and say, 'Hey, a big inning.' But he's been really, really good for us the last three months."
Burnett said he was especially upset about a waist-high fifth-inning pitch to Ortiz, which the slugger sailed over the Green Monster. After that offering, Burnett shook his head repeatedly on the mound, telling himself, "Why? Why?"
"There's no reason to even throw that ball near the plate," Burnett said.
While Burnett admitted he'd thrown heaters without being 100 percent invested, he absolved Posada of any blame in the decision-making process. The onus, Burnett said, is on the pitcher to throw what he can be confident in.
"It's our job. We throw the ball," Burnett said. "We throw what we want to throw. He's there to aid, and it's definitely not him. I had a good hook today and I felt like I should have used it more."
While he didn't deny clashing, Posada said that the bigger issue for Burnett was location. During the game, Posada ducked into the clubhouse and reviewed several sequences on video and didn't like what he saw.
"Very frustrating," Posada said. "You've got a guy that's very valuable. I'm in his corner. I'm going to support him and I want to be there for him, but today was just one of those days."
The Yankees managed little against 23-year-old Japanese rookie Junichi Tazawa, who fired six scoreless innings in an impressive outing and continually pitched out of trouble -- a strong follow-up to his big league debut Aug. 7, when he took the loss in the 15th inning at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees stranded eight men against Tazawa, who scattered eight hits, walking two and striking out two, and a few missed opportunities didn't help the cause. Notably, Robinson Cano committed a baserunning error in the second inning by getting thrown out on a single off the left-field wall that he tried to stretch into a double.
"I thought the second inning was the inning that turned the game around," Girardi said. "We had a chance to score and we didn't. Then they went and put up a four-spot."
It was a silent showing made all the more remarkable by the season-high 20 runs and 23 hits the Yankees had pelted Boston pitching for in Friday's series opener. New York was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position Saturday after going 15-for-25 on Friday.
"I think it's just the law of averages, you know?" Mark Teixeira said. "We hit so well with runners in scoring position last night. We hit a bunch of balls hard when we had guys on. We couldn't get anything to fall."
Nick Swisher broke up the shutout with a solo home run over the Green Monster in the seventh inning off Boston right-hander Daniel Bard, his 21st, but there was hardly anything else to crow about.
Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves allowed three runs in two innings, including a two-run shot to Youkilis in the sixth, and David Robertson surrendered two runs in the ninth. Even the red-hot Derek Jeter was held silent, going 0-for-3 to snap his eight-game hitting streak.
"Everyone's over it already," Teixeira said. "This is a team that's come back from some tough losses this year and always comes back fighting. We've got a chance to win a series tomorrow, and that's what we're going to try to do."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.