(You'd be smiling too if you had a swing that sweet. Courtesy of The AP)
I threw down the gauntlet before the game and the Yankees responded. The overall sloppiness that permeated their series-ending game against Tampa on Thursday night was nowhere to be found in the Subway Series opener at The Stadium last night. The offensive jumped all over Johan Santana early, and Hiroki Kuroda was spectacular as the Yankees cruised to an easy win.
- After both pitchers worked quickly through the 1st, it looked like we could be in for a low-scoring night, but the Yankee offense struck in the bottom of the 2nd when A-Rod led off with a walk and Robbie Cano smacked the first pitch he saw for a 2-run homer.
- It didn't take long for the Yanks to build on their early lead, as they came right back in the 3rd and pounded Santana. After getting 2 outs, A-Rod reached again and Cano did the exact same thing he did the previous inning, murdering a hanger for a 2-run HR into the second deck in right and a 4-0 Yankee lead.
- But it didn't end there. Nick Swisher followed that up with a solo shot of his own, and Andruw Jones did as well for the Yankees' first back-to-back-to-back HRs since last season and a 6-0 lead. Oddly enough, it was the same 3 guys who did it last year.
- It was hard to say if Santana was still feeling the effect of his marathon outing last week, as he struck out 5 early, but he did seem to tire quickly and his command in the strike zone was not there.
- Kuroda was the exact opposite. He was money from the word go and waltzed through the first 5 innings, allowing only 1 baserunner on a Derek Jeter error and striking out 6. He had all his pitches working and used all of them to stifle the Met lineup.
- Scary moment for Kuroda in the 7th. After losing his no-hitter the previous inning, he continued to mow down the Mets until he took a line drive off his left foot. A-Rod caught it for the out, but Kuroda limped off the mound and did not return to the game.
- With Kuroda out, the Yankee offense turned it back on for some insurance in the bottom of the 7th with a sac fly by A-Rod, RBI double by Swish, and RBI single by Jones to make it 9-0.
- In Kuroda's absence, the Yankees used Cody Eppley and the recently called up Ryota Igarashi to finish the game off. Igarashi allowed a late run in the 9th to break up the shutout.
- Kuroda: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. It was a shame to see Kuroda go out the way he did, because he was on last night. He had the sink action working, and used it to generate 10 GB outs. I don't care who you're pitching against, if you're pitching a no-hitter into the 6th inning, you're doing something right. Hopefully the foot injury isn't enough to keep him from his next start, although he was on crutches after the game.
- Cano, Swish, Jones: Combined 6-10, 1 2B, 4 HR, 5 R, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 LOB. These 3 were the driving force for the offensive last night. They had 6 of the team's 11 hits, scored 5 of the 9 runs, and drove in 8 of the 9. I'd say Robbie responded well to being dropped in the batting order, and Swish seems like he's starting to break out of his slump.
- Derek Jeter: 0-4, 1 K, 5 LOB. The Captain is mired in a slump right now. He went 0-13 against Tampa and built on that streak last night, leaving a lot of ducks on the pond in the process. He also botched a groundball that ended Kuroda's bid for a perfect game in the 4th.
Kuroda has quietly been putting together a very good streak of starts lately , and today's starter hasn't been too shabby either. Phil Hughes takes the mound for the first time since his career-best complete game shutout last week, looking to lock up a series win for the Bombers. He'll be opposed by Dillon Gee.