Last night was hardly the first time the Yankees struggled against a pitcher they’d never faced before, but getting no-hit by such a pitcher, well, that would have been something else entirely. Who knows how much longer Phil Humber — who threw 100 pitches in his sixth major league start last night — could have continued beyond the seventh inning if he hadn’t allowed a one-out hit to Alex Rodriguez to break up his no-hitter. And so the good news is we’ll never find out, because Rodriguez did get that hit, a clean single up the middle. Of course, the bad news is that the Yankees lost anyway, 2–0, their bats silenced by Humber, the former Met (and Twin, and Royal, and one-time Yankees draft pick, back before he went to college, got drafted by the Mets, and was shipped to Minnesota in the Johan Santana trade).
Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett threw a hell of a game, too, allowing just one run and three hits over eight innings — but earning the loss, nonetheless. (As soon as we’re done writing this post, we’re going to send a tape of this game to Murray Chass, a proponent of judging a pitcher by his win-loss record — and someone who’s shown a particular fascination with the win-loss record of Burnett — with a note that says, “This is why you maybe shouldn’t judge a pitcher by his win-loss record.” It’s the least we can do.) This wasn’t Burnett pitching just good enough — something he’s done in a few outings this year, and something the Yankees would be willing to settle for, having seen him at his worst last year. This was Burnett making a case that he deserves the No. 2 spot in the rotation that he was signed to occupy.
But last night, Humber outdueled him, and the Yankees couldn’t score off the White Sox bullpen either. Chicago, meanwhile, would scrape together an insurance run off Rafael Soriano, in a ninth inning that began with a pop-up that dropped just behind the mound a couple steps in front of a charging Derek Jeter. (Soriano, who pointed at the ball to indicate a pop-up to his infielders but didn’t move, said afterward that he didn’t think he could have caught it. Judge for yourself here.) In any case, the loss snaps the Yankees’ winning streak at three.