09/02/09 1:08 AM ET
Bronx Bombers live up to name in win
Posada hits two of Yanks' five shots for fifth straight victory
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Jorge Posada cleared the walls at Camden Yards twice to highlight a five-homer Bombers barrage, wiping away a turbulent A.J. Burnett outing as the Yankees outslugged the Orioles, 9-6, on Tuesday.
Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Eric Hinske also went deep as the Yankees rolled to their fifth straight victory, setting up a potential series sweep and lifting New York to a season-high 36 games over .500 at 84-48.
"Everybody's got each other's back," Swisher said. "It seems like if we've got one guy struggling, another guy is there to pick him up. A.J. knows he didn't have his good stuff tonight, but we were there."
The homer-happy Yankees lead the Major Leagues with 207 round-trippers, and they needed them to overcome yet another clunker from Burnett, who is making an all-too-familiar habit of alternating good outings and bad ones.
"Our guys swung the bats good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We were patient and when we got runners on, we broke through a couple of times and had some big home runs tonight. Our guys have done a really good job. You get what you need and keep going."
The 16th multi-homer game of the catcher's career, Posada's second round-tripper came after he headed for the dugout thinking he had struck out in the fifth inning.
Given a second life with the Yankees dugout chuckling generously, Posada then went back to the plate and belted a two-run shot off Orioles starter David Hernandez.
Posada's focus may not have been airtight -- he also stood at home plate after working a second-inning walk -- but a brief respite seems to have paid dividends after Posada rested a bruised left ring finger last week.
"He's swinging the bat great," Girardi said. "I think those couple of days off probably helped rejuvenate him a little bit. Since then, he's come back and been great, but he's had a good year for us all year offensively."
"I'm happy that I'm back and playing and helping," Posada said. "It's fun to be out here. We've got a great bunch of guys."
Trailing, 6-5, through five innings, New York tied the game as Melky Cabrera walked to open the sixth and Derek Jeter legged out a hit to chase Dennis Sarfate.
Lefty Alberto Castillo got the next two outs, but Alex Rodriguez greeted Chris Ray with a run-scoring single to center. Of A-Rod's 71 RBIs since returning from the disabled list on May 8 in Baltimore, 35 have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.
Swisher belted a two-run homer off Ray in the seventh, his 23rd long ball of the season and fourth at Camden Yards, and Hinske followed with a shot to left-center, his sixth, which marked the 14th time the Yankees have hit back-to-back homers this season.
"You try to keep the game tight and within distance," Posada said. "With this lineup, it seems like we don't die down. We get good at-bats and the guys later on got on base. Swisher's home run was key, he got a fastball to hit and he hit it well."
Cano had earlier hit a two-run homer for New York, which leaned on four relievers -- Damaso Marte, Dave Robertson, Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera -- to wrap up winning their eighth straight vs. Baltimore.
"They're going to have eight guys that are going to hit 20 or more home runs," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "They don't miss mistakes. If you don't locate, they don't miss it at all."
Chastising himself for a loopy curveball and a spotty fastball, Burnett was charged with six runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings as he remained winless since a July 27 start at Tampa Bay, a span of seven outings.
He was 0-4 with a 6.03 ERA in six August starts coming into Tuesday's flop, a trend that Girardi insisted was not troubling.
"He was flat tonight," Girardi said. "His stuff was flat. He wasn't downhill, and when you're like that, sometimes it's a struggle. You do your best to fight through it, struggle through it, and he did that tonight."
Felix Pie touched Burnett for a solo home run in the first inning, shouting at himself on the mound -- a la his poor Aug. 22 start in Boston -- and leading Baltimore players to think Burnett's ire was directed at them.
Melvin Mora drilled a two-run single to tie the game in the third inning, scoring Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold before Posada's second homer of the night briefly gave New York a 5-3 lead.
But despite New York's fortune on the phantom third strike, Burnett gave the runs right back in the fifth, allowing two hits before Luke Scott crushed a long three-run homer down the right-field line and on to Eutaw Street.
"The difficult part is to look these guys in the eyes after they give me a couple of leads and I blow them," Burnett said. "It's tough, but everybody in this room respects each other. It's a great team to be a part of."
Burnett had made a mental mistake, forgetting to cover first base on a ball hit by Markakis in that inning that Mark Teixeira flagged down the first-base line. It hurt Burnett's ERA, but he considered himself lucky in the grander picture, the Yankees covered it all up.
"It's frustrating, but I've said it all along, my individual numbers aren't important to me," Burnett said. "I want this team to win and go to the World Series. It definitely helps out with them getting a W."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.