Hiroki Kuroda continued his blazing hot second-half and Ichiro Suzuki showed he has some pop in that singles machine with two solo homers as the New York Yankees took the rubber game from the Boston Red Sox by a score of 4-1.
Kuroda is now 12-8 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.96. He is 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA since back-to-back clunkers to open July. He’s lasted at least 6 innings in 15 of his last 16 starts dating back to May 27, so even when he has not been at his best, he’s provided the Yankees with innings.
Ichiro’s two-homer game was the seventh of his career and second at Yankee Stadium. Suzuki has shown the ability to hit home runs, but Seattle’s cavernous Safeco Field was better suited for Ichiro’s slash and dash approach, which has done him very well of course. Many wondered if he would be tempted to utilize the short porch in right field to his advantage when he was traded to New York. He has yet to show he is trying to pull everything, which is good, but he’s also proven that if meatballs are thrown his way he can turn on them in a heartbeat and reach the seats. Ichiro was 10-for-19 on the homestand and is hitting .357 in August.
Derek Jeter doubled and Curtis Granderson added a two-out RBI double in the first inning to account for the Yankees first run. The Bombers scored their second run on a wild pitch from Boston starter Josh Beckett in the third. Suzuki homered in the fourth and sixth giving Kuroda some breathing room.
Kuroda cruised through the first six innings scattering three hits with only one runner reaching second base until Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the top of the seventh with one out. Kuroda retired the next five batters without further issue and handed the ball off to Yankees closer Rafael Soriano who converted his 31st save of the season.
The Yankees (72-49) hold a five-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays who finished off a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels yesterday. The Red Sox are now 13.5 games behind the Yankees in the American League East and 7.5 back in the wild card race.
The Yanks travel to Chicago’s Southside to face the White Sox for a three-game set. The White Sox hold a 1.5 game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central race. The Yankees have Freddy Garcia (7-5) on the mound to face Gavin Floyd (9-9) in the series opener tonight. For more on the series, check out the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show later this morning.