Hiroki Kuroda took advantage of some welcomed offensive support as the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Saturday. The Yankees boasted 12 hits in all in sending Kuroda to his ninth victory.
The bulk of the offensive support came from Eduardo Nunez, Lyle Overbay and Brett Gardner. The trio contributed three hits each to help Kuroda record his first win at Fenway Park. Robinson Cano also contributed with two RBI.
“We’ve just got to give ourselves chances to score runs,” Overbay said. “We gave ourselves a lot of chances and we didn’t come through every time, but the more chances you get, the more opportunities to happen.”
The Yankees jumped on top in the fifth inning against Boston’s John Lackey as Brett Gardner singled home Luis Cruz. Two innings later, Cruz produced again with an RBI single to score Nunez. Cano and Overbay brought home a run each to put the Yankees up 4-0. In the ninth, Cano added a sacrifice fly for the Yankees final run.
“That’s what we have to do,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “There’s not too many nights when we’re going to slug. That’s not who we are. We have to pitch extremely well. We have to get distance from our starter and allow our bullpen to go to work and have a lead. Having a lead is really important.”
The game was highlighted by a series of exciting plays at home plate. Boston’s Daniel Nava slipped while rounding third and then was thrown out by Vernon Wells. The Red Sox lost another scoring opportunity when Yankees’ catcher Chris Stewart retrieved a Kuroda pitch that got by him. Stewart tossed the ball to Kuroda, who tagged Boston’s Mike Carp out. The Yankees had a runner cut down of their own when Nunez tried to score on a grounder by Cruz.
In the eighth inning, Stewart’s defense shined again. After reaching into the stands to grab a pop up by Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, Stewart threw to second to double-off Nava.
With the win, the Yankees improved their record to 52-45, leaving them six games behind the Red Sox, but only five games behind in the loss column.