for this game

Burnett returns from DL to lead Blue Jays over Royals

Aug 13, 2007 - 3:37 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- A.J. Burnett returned from his second stint on the disabled list this season to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday night.

Burnett (6-6), who went back on the disabled list with a shoulder strain after lasting just four innings against the Minnesota Twins on June 28, pitched 7 2/3 innings, surrendering just one run on three hits.

The 30-year-old righthander struck out five and walked three en route to his first win in his last six starts dating to May 22.

"When your arm's right, your mind's right," Burnett said. "If you go out there when you're not healthy, you are going to struggle."

"We think it'll make a strong rotation even stronger," Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said of Burnett's return. "Any given night he's capable of going out there and pitching like that. It'll give us a boost and help us finish strong."

Burnett was in control the entire game, allowing just one runner to advance to second base when David DeJesus walked and stole second in the third inning.

"Some people think he's a Cy Young candidate," catcher Gregg Zaun said. "And I agree with them. When he's on his game he's a legitimate No. 1 or 2 on any club. You can tell that by the number of clubs that courted him. It's just a question of can he harness that stuff."

"He had an overpowering fastball, a big breaking ball and he mixed in some changeups," Gibbons said. "It was typical A.J. Burnett."

DeJesus was thrown out at home by Alex Rios to end the third inning when he attempted to score on Mark Grudzielanek's single.

"Rios' throw was right on target," Zaun said. "It couldn't have been any better. I stayed between the runner and the plate and he had to go around, which gave me the extra couple of ticks to get the tag on him."

Burnett's only mistake came when Alex Gordon led off the eighth inning with his 10th home run of the season.

"It was a changeup," Burnett said of the pitch to Gordon. "And it didn't change anything but direction, and in a hurry."

"He didn't miss over the plate but once," Zaun said. "He was able to throw his two-seamer down in the zone all night. When we were pitching away, he was either right on target or missed away. And when we were pitching in, he was either right on target or missed in."

Jeremy Accardo allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 22nd save.

Kansas City starter Brian Bannister (8-7) suffered his first loss in his last five decisions, allowing three runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old struck out one and walked three, throwing 93 pitches.

"I wasn't able to execute three or four pitches in a row and keep myself in pitcher's counts," Bannister said. "I was far too predictable when I had to throw a strike. They knew I had to throw a strike in certain counts and they were able to eliminate some of my secondary pitches because I was struggling with them."

"Bannister was in the middle of the plate or off the plate," Royals Manager Buddy Bell said. "He threw so many pitches. We decided to get Banny out of there rather go to a higher pitch count."

The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the third inning when Vernon Wells lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Rios, who had led off the inning with a triple.

Toronto added two more runs in the fourth. After Joey Gathright robbed Aaron Hill of a home run for the second time in as many days, Zaun doubled to right field. Zaun advanced to third on a groundout by Ray Olmedo and Matt Stairs drew a walk to put runners at first and third with two outs.

Lyle Overbay followed by stroking a double to left field, plating Zaun and Stairs and extending the lead to 3-0.

"Overbay had the big hit for them," Bell said. "Toronto has a lot of guys that can swing the bat. They give you a tough at-bat up-and-down the lineup."

"It was a big hit," Zaun said. "If you give (Burnett) a two or three-run cushion, it's over."

Toronto added another run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Stairs, who extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double to leadoff the game. The 39-year-old Stairs is hitting .406 during the streak.

"I'm pleased with the way I'm hitting right now," Stairs said. "Especially after the way April started, you start to doubt yourself a little bit. But I got some playing time, because of some injuries, unfortunately. Gibby does a great job of working everybody into the lineup. It keeps the bench players prepared and it has made a difference for me."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 4 12 0
    KANSAS CITY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - A.J. BURNETT, BRIAN WOLFE (8TH), SCOTT DOWNS (8TH), JEREMY
    ACCARDO (9TH) AND GREGG ZAUN
    KAN - BRIAN BANNISTER, RYAN BRAUN (5TH), JOHN BALE
    (8TH) AND JASON LA

    Aug 12 10:03 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ALEX GORDON (10) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 8TH OFF A.J. BURNETT.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4, KANSAS CITY 1
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J SMITH (.208, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. RoyalsAug 12 9:33 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY MATT STAIRS SCORED GREGG ZAUN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: L OVERBAY (.250, 1-FOR-3, 2 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. RoyalsAug 12 8:51 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY LYLE OVERBAY SCORED GREGG ZAUN AND MATT STAIRS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, L OVERBAY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A RIOS (.304, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Blue Jays vs. RoyalsAug 12 8:19 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY VERNON WELLS SCORED ALEX RIOS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: F THOMAS (.263, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. RoyalsAug 12 7:56 PM