NEW YORK -- A.J. Burnett wasn't thrilled by an early hook from his start Monday against the Twins in the fifth inning, but with a day to reflect, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he stands by his call.
Girardi yanked Burnett after four-plus innings in what finished as a 6-4 Yankees victory, believing that his stuff had tapered off after three dominant innings to start the contest.
Overshadowed by Mariano Rivera's record-setting 602nd career save were Burnett's remarks, in which he said his stuff had been "nasty" and added, "Heaven forbid I give up a couple hits."
"Every pitcher, I hope, feels like he can get out of what he's gotten into," Girardi said. "I think that's probably the most important thing, that you have that confidence."
Girardi noted that the Twins didn't get a ball out of the infield in the first three innings against Burnett, striking out seven times, but began to hit him harder in the fourth.
"I thought his stuff had clearly changed; that's why I pulled him," Girardi said of Burnett. "It wasn't that I wanted to, I was hoping to get distance out of him. I would've loved to have a complete game, but I thought his stuff clearly changed."
Burnett exited in the fifth, having turned a 5-0 lead into a 5-4 advantage, serving up homers to Chris Parmelee and Michael Cuddyer.
Cory Wade picked up the win in relief, as Burnett owns just two victories in his last 14 starts. After the game, Burnett said it would have been "irrelevant" to debate the point further with Girardi.
Added Burnett on Monday: "Joe does what he can to get this team a win, and we won. ... You do whatever you can to get your team a 'W,' I guess."