Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kuroda Shuts Out Orioles

Hiroki Kuroda went the distance tonight, shutting out a hot Orioles lineup for nine innings of brilliant work. He surrendered only five hits, walking none and punching out five batters. This start is a stark difference from Kuroda's previous two starts where he struggled badly with command after bruising his right middle finger on a come-backer. He was able to work the two-seam fastball over both corners and his splitter was great tonight, as he stumped hitters all night. No Orioles reached second base until the ninth inning when a Jayson Nix eventually allowed Nick Markakis to reach second on a groundout by Adam Jones. Kuroda was not in any jams all night as he continues to show that he is a solid pitcher who can take the Yankees a long way this year. His first two starts were aberrations to the norm, which for Kuroda, means trying his best to get his team a victory every fifth day. Aside from Hughes and Nova, the Yankees front three starters have been great and continue to be the rock on the Yankees roster.

All the offense the Yankees needed tonight came in the fifth inning when Jayson Nix provided the lead with a sac fly followed by Gardner totally mashing a baseball off the top of the right field foul pole for his second home run of the year. The lefty outfielder is not a power hitter, but he can run into one once in a while, and today did so against a lefty. This was his Gardner's first home run against a left handed pitcher since he hit one off Jays lefty Ricky Romero in 2010. The fifth inning in tonight's game was something the Yankees could not do last year. They were not able to manufacture runs in 2012. The part of the lineup that provided the Yankees offense tonight was able to move runners on outs and eventually score on a sac fly. The Yankees are adapting seemingly well to their new style of play, but are still in the top five in MLB's top home run hitting teams with 17 long balls.

The Yankees will enjoy a day off tomorrow coming off a series win at home against Baltimore and will play on Tuesday at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D'Backs will be making a visit to Yankee Stadium in April as part of MLB's new style of interleague play. Arizona will send Brandon McCarthy to face the Bombers while the Yankees will have Ivan Nova try and pitch his way out of a funk.

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