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Burnett's meltdown adds to Yankees' misery

The Sports Xchange
Notes, Quotes · Roster Report · Burnett's meltdown adds to Yankees' misery

A.J. Burnett had his worst outing of the season Monday, and it couldn't have come at a worse time for the Yankees.

Burnett coughed up a 5-1 lead in the sixth inning, serving up a pair of two-run home runs by Sam Fuld and B.J. Upton, part of a five-run frame that lifted the Rays to a 6-5 win over the Yankees.

"Taking nothing away from the Rays, they're a good-hitting team, but I had way too good of stuff tonight," Burnett said. "I was locating early, mixing early, and it just got away. You can't allow it to happen, not when they came out like they did tonight swinging the bats."

For a team that was already dealing with the distractions of Jorge Posada's unexcused absence and Derek Jeter's comments about Posada, a come-from-ahead loss was a bad result Monday. The Yankees suffered their sixth consecutive defeat.

Burnett had been the Yankees' most consistent pitcher this season, entering the night with a 4-2 record and 3.38 ERA. The Yankees staked him to a big lead with five runs in five innings against David Price, but after pitching five superb innings, Burnett fell apart in the sixth.

After Fuld cut the lead to 5-3, Burnett recorded two quick outs, but Matt Joyce made it 5-4 with an RBI single before Upton drilled a hanging curveball into the left field seats to give the Rays a lead.

"I can't tell you why exactly it happened, but he just seemed to lose his stuff a little bit," manager Joe Girardi said. "He was so good for the first five innings."

Despite the stumble, Burnett insisted that his collapse didn't get him thinking about last season, when he watched a solid year snowball into disaster with an 0-5 record and 11.35 ERA in June.

"We need to turn the page about talking about last year," Burnett said. "This is this year. If ya'll can't tell that I'm better this year already, then I don't know what else you want me to do."

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