Burnett stays calm to help Yanks beat Brewers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pitcher A.J. Burnett stared down Milwaukee's sluggers during a nervous moment to guide the New York Yankees to a 5-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday.

Milwaukee loaded the bases against Burnett with the Yankees leading 4-1 with one out in the sixth inning, but the right-hander had dangerous hitters Prince Fielder and Corey Hart both ground out to escape with only one run surrendered.

"A.J.'s got good stuff," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters. "He has a live fastball and a great curve. We did have chances and got guys on base.

"Whenever he gets into a count where he can use that curve, he's tough."

Burnett completed seven innings for his eighth win of the season while the potent Yankees' offense extended their Major League-leading home run total to 115.

Russell Martin bombed a three-run homer in the fourth inning as the Yankees took a 4-1 lead before Jorge Posada added a solo blast in the sixth as New York won their fourth straight game.

Posada's homer had to be reviewed by umpires on instant replay before he was given his ninth of the season.

"I feel good at the plate," Posada said. "My approach is better. I'm getting good pitches to hit. My thought process is a little better, and they're falling for me."

Closer Mariano Rivera sealed the win in the ninth with his 21st save of the season as the Yankees (47-31) took a 2 1/2-game lead in the American League East.

Starter Shaun Marcum (7-3) pitched five innings to take the loss for the NL Central-leading Brewers (44-37), who slumped to their second defeat to the Yankees in as many days following Tuesday's 12-2 humbling.

Milwaukee's Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 with an RBI single in the first to increase his hitting streak to 19 games, but he was the lone bright spot for the visiting offense.

The Brewers threatened in the eighth with runners on first and third, but New York reliever David Robertson struck out Hart to end the inning.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)