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Saturday, April 2, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Yankees 10, Tigers 6

By Andrew Marchand

What it means: A.J. Burnett pitched well enough to win, but not well enough to convince anyone he is a changed man. The line was OK. He went five innings, allowed three runs on five hits, striking out six and walking one.

After a stellar 1-2-3 two-strikeout first inning, Burnett's best inning was the second because it started with Miguel Cabrera nailing a double to lead off. Would Burnett melt down like he did so many times last year? The answer was a resounding no.

Burnett used a 94-mph fastball to strike out Victor Martinez and a 93-mph fastball to get Brennan Boesch. Finally, Jhonny Peralta flew out to center.

From there, Burnett hung on, giving up a solo shot to Austin Jackson in the third. In the fifth, he gave up two more runs, but not the lead, and he was able to leave ahead 6-3.

Overall, Burnett can build on this start, but he didn't prove he is fixed. What he did was slow down -- not stop -- last year's snowball from possibly continuing into 2011. If he were to get a grade, it would be a C+/B-.

Tex off to hot start -- it's not April 1 anymore, right? Nope, it is not. Mark Teixeira, Mr. Slow Start himself, is off to a rapid beginning to 2011. After going yard with a three-run jack on Opening Day, Teixeira did it again on Saturday, nailing a three-run homer off Brad Penny.

Teixeira has hit home runs in at least two straight games on 42 occasions. But this was only the third time he has done it prior to May 1, according to BaseballReference.com. Last March and April, Teixeira had two homers and nine RBIs overall. He already has two homers and six RBIs.

Russ-Mart goes yard: Russell Martin blew the game open. With the Yankees up 6-3 after Burnett had given up two in the top of the fifth, Martin went deep. If you are interested, Yankees radio play-by-play voice John Sterling called it with, "Russell has muscle!"

Jeter Watch: Derek Jeter picked up his first hit of the year, with a single off the glove of Tigers second baseman Will Rhymes. Jeter came around to score. He then hit a 45-foot nubber down the first-base line in the fifth. So the two hits pushes him to 72 shy of 3,000.

Typical A-Rod: Alex Rodriguez homered, hitting an absolute bomb to make it 10-3 in the sixth. The meaningless homer would have been so 2006, but right now "typical A-Rod" means that a ball was scorched, and it was another sign that Rodriguez might be on his way to an MVP season.

In the first, he nailed another double, driving a swerving liner into the right-field corner. Like on Opening Day, A-Rod didn't run too hard, but Rhymes didn't throw to second, where he could have nailed A-Rod.

One Mo: In a 10-6 game with two men on and two out in the ninth, Mariano Rivera was summoned to get one more save. He got Miguel Cabrera to ground out.

What is next: Phil Hughes makes his 2011 debut. A scout said in the spring that Hughes' velocity was down. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it is the same as it was last year, but he is "curious" to see where it is on Sunday. Hughes made the All-Star team last season, finishing 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA, but was just 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA in the second half. He will be opposed by Max Scherzer. Scherzer was 12-11 with a 3.50 ERA last year.

Question of the day: Do you believe more in A.J. Burnett now, or are you still in wait-and-see mode?