NEW YORK — The New York Yankees kept right on rolling, thanks to their clutch shortstop and power-hitting catcher.
Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli — yes, those guys — backed another sterling start from A.J. Burnett as the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 on Tuesday night with three of their core stars unavailable.
"We try to do that, you know, every time we start," said Pena, who drove in two runs on a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. "You know, we say, 'Hey let's do something.'"
Joba Chamberlain got the save for the second night in a row, filling in for Mariano Rivera while the star closer rests his stiff left side muscle as the Yankees matched the 1928, '39 and 2003 teams by winning eight of their first nine series. Jorge Posada was out because of a strained right calf and Derek Jeter was the designated hitter.
On a small-ball kind of night, Pena's two RBIs on a sacrifice fly and a sacrifice bunt were enough — not one of the game's runs scored on a hit. Cervelli filled in admirably for Posada with three hits, including his first career triple.
"In my career, I've never been a backup catcher," Cervelli said. "I always think I'm the first guy."
Burnett outpitched Brian Matusz again. Five days after he outdueled the Orioles' promising young lefty Thursday, Burnett (4-0) struck out eight in 7 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, two walks and an unearned run.
"I feel more like myself than I have in a long time," Burnett said.
The Orioles scored when Burnett threw wildly to first on Cesar Izturis' sacrifice bunt in the third and had runners on second and third with nobody out before striking out the top of the order — Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters.
"We probably had the best opportunity in some time to score some runs there in the third inning," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Yeah, we had him right where we wanted him, but we didn't knock him out."
Instead it was the Yankees' role players who made productive outs and good defensive plays and carried the team on a night when Jeter went 1-for-5 and had the only hit among the top four hitters.
The 35-year-old Jeter played DH in part because of the Yankees' upcoming schedule. After finishing their three-game series against Baltimore on Wednesday, they are off Thursday before playing on 17 straight days, beginning with a three-game series in Boston.
Manager Joe Girardi is hoping to have Posada and Rivera back by then.
"In the midst of these long runs, you've got to find time for these guys. I tried to put it in a gentle, nicer way last night, but there's a little age on them," he said.
Matusz (2-2) pitched well but was second-best to Burnett (4-0) again, allowing an earned run and three overall in six innings. He gave up six hits and three walks. All of the free passes were in the Yankees' two-run fifth inning.
"The Yankees do a better job than any team I've ever seen at taking borderline pitches," Matusz said. "I felt like I was able to attack the zone except for that one inning when I walked three guys."
Matusz's throwing error on Pena's sacrifice bunt scored the Yankees' first run in the fifth, and Alex Rodriguez walked with the bases loaded for Matusz's second straight walk. Robinson Cano flied out to center with the bases loaded on the next pitch.
Cervelli led off the third inning with a triple that Jones dived for and missed. He also dived into the Yankees dugout to catch Garrett Atkins' foul pop in the fourth.
The Yankees added a run in the eighth on Pena's sacrifice fly to center.
Atkins had three hits, including a two-out single off Chamberlain. … Yankees outfielder Greg Golson, called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, made his debut for the team by coming in to play center in the top of the eighth. Brett Gardner moved to left. Golson caught Miguel Tejada's drive at the wall to end the eighth. … Rivera said he feels ready to take the mound again after throwing 10 to 15 pitches in a bullpen session. "You're never going to feel a hundred percent," Rivera said. "So far, it feels good." … A fan sitting in the "Delta Sky 360 Suite" mishandled two foul balls in a space of about 10 minutes. He was gently booed, causing him to raise his beer in mock salute. … Wieters is 0-for-11 against Burnett after striking out twice and hitting into a double play. … Jeter led off the bottom of the first with his 443rd career double, breaking a tie with Don Mattingly for third on the Yankees. … There were no home runs for the third time in 11 games at Yankee Stadium this year. Last year, one of 81 regular-season games was homerless.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP