The New York Yankees, behind Hiroki Kuroda‘s eight shutout innings, swept the Oakland A’s and in the process won their season-high fifth straight game. The Yankees had won the first two games of the series with dominant bats, but this time they needed and received a fantastic performance from Kuroda.
Kuroda has taken some heat for his production this season, his first in Yankee’s pinstripes. He was having an especially tough time on the road until yesterday afternoon. He was dominant throughout his 104 pitches, only running into trouble once in the seventh inning.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone kept kept his team close despite allowing ten base runners in 6.2 innings. Kuroda received all the run support he would need from an Andruw Jones solo homer in the top of the second inning. The Yankees tacked on a run in the seventh on a two-out RBI double by Mark Teixeira scoring Curtis Granderson.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kuroda got a little wild and Coco Crisp tried to manufacture a run all by himself. He was almost successful. Crisp singled to open the inning and immediately got into Kuroda’s head. Josh Reddick flew out and with Seth Smith at the plate, Crisp stole second base. Kuroda proceeded to walk Smith and then Kuroda simply stopped paying attention to Crisp, who promptly stole third. With runners on first and third and one out, Kuroda buckled down and struck out Kila Ka’Kaihue and then got Josh Donaldson to fly out to right to end the inning.
Kuroda came back out for the eighth and set down the side on a total of seven pitches. He finished the game allowing only four hits and one walk. He struck out three en route to his fourth victory of the season. Rafael Soriano worked a scoreless ninth, allowing a two-out single to Reddick, before striking out Smith to end the game and notch his fifth save. The Yankees (26-21) are now 2.5 back (2 in loss column) to the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays.
- Derek Jeter passed George Brett on the all-time hits list with a first-inning single. It was hit number 3,155 for Jeter.
- The Yankees went 1-for-11 with RISP.
- The Bombers are 0-10 in games in which they do not hit a home run.
- Teixeira ended the series going 8-for-14 with 3 doubles, 3 HR, and 8 RBI.
- Russell Martin was held out of yesterday’s game with a stiff neck. The Yanks believe it is a minor issue.
YANKS HEAD TO ANAHEIM TO FACE PUJOLS AND ANGELS
The Yankees take their five-game win streak to Anaheim tonight and begin a three-game series versus the Los Angeles Angels, who are riding a six-game win streak of their own. Albert Pujols is hitting the ball more like expected (.333, 4 HR, 8 RBI in last six games) after signing a ten-year, $255 million contract in the offseason. The Yanks are not going to have an easy time (they never do in Anaheim) as they are set to face Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. The Yanks counter with Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova. Below is a chart of statistical leaders for each team heading into the series. Give a listen to Ricky Keeler’s take on the series on the Yanks Go Yard Podcast Preview.
Orange County, California native Hughes takes the mound looking to build on his recent success. This will mark his toughest test and provide a gauge as to where he is right now in the season. He’ll face off against Weaver who has been stellar once again this season.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that David Robertson is going to get the closer role back. Rafael Soriano, who also has a tendency to make things interesting, has looked very solid in the role since Robertson went down with an injury.
For the season Soriano is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA (which is tied for the bullpen lead). He allows 1.5 runners per inning which makes it interesting, but much like Robertson he has been getting out of any jams he’s encountered. Since taking over the closer’s role he has allowed five base runners in 5.1 innings. He has not walked a batter and struck out six.
My feeling is that manager Joe Girardi may want to keE. Robertson available for any tough outs in the seventh and eighth innings. Robertson is better at stranding runners while Soriano seems much more at ease coming into the beginning of an inning.
Regardless, if Robertson comes back and performs like he was prior to the injury, and Soriano continues his fine play it won’t matter which way Girardi goes in the ninth.
Topics: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, Dan Haren, David Robertson, Derek Jeter, Ervin Santana, George Brett, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Nick Swisher, Oakland A's, Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, Yankees