The New York Yankees were in need of a solid start in order to allow a weary middle portion of the bullpen some rest. The team also needed some confirmation that they have another arm they can rely on with CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the disabled list. The Yankees received each yesterday afternoon from Hiroki Kuroda as he dominated the Chicago White Sox in a 4-0 victory.
Kuroda tossed seven innings, allowing only three hits and one walk, while striking out eleven batters, the most during his brief time in pinstripes. After a rocky first inning in which he stranded the bases loaded after allowing two singles and a walk, Kuroda was in shutdown mode. He didn’t allow another hit until his final inning. The only other base runner after the first was on a hit-by-pitch to Kevin Youkilis, likely in response to White Sox starter Jake Peavy plunking Derek Jeter.
Kuroda was backed by three solo home runs, including Curtis Granderson‘s second straight first-inning homer, which provided Kuroda an early lead and was all he would need. It was Granderson’s 23rd home run of the season.
Dewayne Wise, who was making the start in left field a day after recording the final two outs as a pitcher in the Yankees blowout loss Friday night, provided help with his bat yesterday. Wise roped a two-out RBI-double scoring Nick Swisher in the second inning. In the fifth, Wise torched a Peavy cutter that didn’t move much, and deposited it about 12 rows into the second deck in right field. It was Wise’s second homer of the season. He went on to smack a single in his final at-bat and finished the day 3-for-3, raising his average to .268.
Peavy came into the game having allowed only eight home runs in 104 2/3 innings but couldn’t keep the ball in the yard in this one. Robinson Cano capped the trio of dingers with a moon shot into the second deck in right field. All three of the home runs were hit in that vicinity and none of them were cheap.
Kuruda’s pitch count in the first inning combined with the multitude of strikeouts somewhat limited the number of innings he lasted, but seven was more than enough. It allowed the Yankees to use David Robertson for the eighth, and a combination of Boone Logan and Rafael Soriano in the ninth to finish off the shutout. More importantly, each of the relievers was economical with their time on the mound allowing manager Joe Girardi comfort to utilize them today if necessary.
With the win, the Yankees (47-30) regained a five-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The White Sox (42-36) gave a game back in the standings to the Cleveland Indians, and now hold a 2 ½ game lead over the Tribe.
This afternoon, the Yankees turn to Phil Hughes to salvage a split of the four-game series. Hughes (8-6, 4.48 ERA) is looking to continue his strong recent performance. After tossing eight scoreless innings in his last outing against the Indians, Hughes capped an excellent June, going 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA.
The White Sox have Gavin Floyd on the mound in the series finale. Floyd (6-7, 4.80 ERA) has won two straight games in which he did not allow a run in 13 1/3 innings. The wins came after three consecutive rough starts.
The game begins at 2:05 p.m. today as the Yankees hold their annual Old-Timers Day ceremonies which begin at 11:15 a.m.
Topics: Andy Pettitte, Boone Logan, CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, David Robertson, Derek Jeter, Dewayne Wise, Gavin Floyd, Hiroki Kuroda, Jake Peavy, Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees, Old-Timers Day, Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, Robinson Cano, Yankees