Burnett grinds out victory

Yankees continue dominance of Twins

Outfielder Brett Gardner follows the flight of his two-run single in the sixth inning that helped spark the Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Twins. Outfielder Brett Gardner follows the flight of his two-run single in the sixth inning that helped spark the Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Twins. (Eric Miller/Reuters)
Associated Press / July 9, 2009
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A.J. Burnett’s fastball was out of control. His curveball wasn’t working. His changeup was ineffective.

This was the type of test he might not have passed earlier in his career, but Burnett fought through his problems and pitched the Yankees toward yet another win over the Minnesota Twins.

Burnett (8-4) won his third straight start, and Brett Gardner’s two-run single helped the Yankees build an early lead and beat the Twins, 4-3, last night at the Metrodome.

“It was a mental grind out there,’’ said Burnett, who walked four, gave up seven hits, and threw three wild pitches while only striking out two.

Joe Mauer drove in two runs for the Twins with a double and a homer and became eligible for the AL batting race, a competition in which he now officially holds a big lead, but Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera kept up some recently strong work by the bullpen over the past three weeks. They preserved the Yankees’ sixth victory over Minnesota in as many games this season, giving them 17 wins in their past 23 meetings.

Rays 10, Blue Jays 9 - All-Star Ben Zobrist hit a three-run homer and had an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give Tampa Bay the victory. Zobrist, who started at six positions before settling in as the regular second baseman in place of the injured Akinori Iwamura, is batting .289 with 17 homers and 50 RBIs.

Toronto has lost nine of 11 games to fall to .500 for the first time this year.

Mets 5, Dodgers 4 - Oliver Perez won despite a wild return from the disabled list and the depleted Mets finally mustered some offense, overcoming Manny Ramírez’s ninth-inning homer to win at Citi Field. David Wright snapped an 0-for-17 slump with his first RBI this month as the Mets ended a four-game skid.

Perez walked a season-high seven in five innings. “He was flowing in and out of rhythm,’’ Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “It became very challenging for us.’’

Rockies 10, Nationals 4 - Jorge De La Rosa pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Ryan Spilborghs hit a bases-loaded triple to key a four-run fifth, and host Colorado completed a three-game sweep.

Rangers 8, Angels 1 - Andruw Jones hit three home runs in his first three at-bats and visiting Texas routed Los Angeles. With a chance to tie the major league record for home runs in a game, Jones popped out in the sixth against Kevin Jepsen and struck out against Jason Bulger in the ninth.

Phillies 3, Reds 2 - Shane Victorino’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning lifted host Philadelphia. The pitching-starved Phillies may have lost another starter when Rodrigo Lopez left because of right shoulder inflammation after five solid innings.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 4 - Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run with his two-out, eighth-inning infield single as Milwaukee rallied to win at home.

Braves 4, Cubs 1 - Kenshin Kawakami (5-6) shut down host Chicago for six innings and shortstop Yunel Escobar made a run-saving defensive play in the eighth to help preserve the Atlanta victory.

Marlins 7, Giants 0 - Chris Volstad pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game, Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer, and visiting Florida avoided a three-game sweep.

Tigers 3, Royals 1 - Rookie Lucas French outdueled Zack Greinke (10-5) in his second career start, holding Kansas City to one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings to lead host Detroit.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 2 - Felipe Lopez hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run rally in the eighth as host Arizona posted its season-high fifth straight win.

White Sox 5, Indians 1 - Jose Contreras gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings, Jermaine Dye had three RBIs, and host Chicago won for the 16th time in 22 games.

Orioles 5, Mariners 3 - Baltimore took advantage of two errors by second baseman Jose Lopez and rallied for five runs in the ninth to beat host Seattle.

Astros 5, Pirates 0 - Wandy Rodriguez tied a career high by striking out 11 to lead host Houston.

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