A.J. Burnett became the first New York Yankees pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning yesterday, in the team’s 4-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Burnett struck out Chris Iannetta and Carlos Gonzalez looking to start the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Chris Nelson then struck out swinging, and was safe at first base as the pitch bounced in the dirt and ricocheted off catcher Russell Martin, rolling to the backstop. Todd Helton went down swinging for the third out.
It was first 4-strikeout inning since Seattle’s Felix Hernandez accomplished the feat on June 3, 2010, and the second time for Burnett. His first came in the first inning on July 5, 2002, when he was pitching for the Florida Marlins against the New York Mets.
Burnett (17-11) became the second pitcher in league history to have four strikeouts in an inning in more than one game. Chuck Finley did it three times: with Cleveland on April 15, 2000; and with Anaheim on Aug. 15, and on May 12, 1999.
Alex Rodriguez hit a one-run double in the first inning to give the Yankees (38-37) a 1-0 lead. His sacrifice fly in the third scored Curtis Granderson to tie the game at 2-2 after Jason Giambi homered in the second and Helton hit a one-run single in the third for Colorado.
Ty Wigginton grounded to third to score Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki homered in the fifth for the Rockies (43-31).
Ubaldo Jimenez (3-7) allowed four hits and two runs and struck out seven in seven innings for the win.
Burnett (7-6) gave up seven hits and four runs and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings.