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N.Y. rallies in 9th inning

September 30, 2009

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— The regular season has been such a rousing success for the Yankees that even fourth-string backups and little-known minor leaguers are getting in on the fun.

That’s just fine with A.J. Burnett, who has plenty of whipped cream for all of them.

Burnett pitched well in an encouraging playoff tuneup and New York rallied for two runs in the ninth inning Tuesday night, beating the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, for its seventh straight victory.

“I’m just really confident now. I feel good,” Burnett said. “I knew I’d be strong with the extra day. My mind’s pretty clear out there. I’m just going with the flow of the game.”

Seldom-used Juan Miranda got the game-winning hit off ex-Yankee Kyle Farnsworth (1-5), an infield single that caromed off the reliever’s leg and into foul territory between home plate and first base.

Miranda raised his arms in jubilation as he crossed the bag and the AL East champions rushed out of the dugout to celebrate as if they’d just won a playoff series. The custom all season, Burnett pasted Miranda in the face with a whipped cream pie during his television interview on the field.

Nine players have game-ending hits for the Yankees this year, including two rookies who spent most of the season in the minors: Miranda and Francisco Cervelli.

“There are two guys left on the list,” Burnett said, thinking of Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. “Tex and Jeet.”

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