(Definitely earned that hug. Courtesy of Getty Images)
There's almost no sense in recapping this game because the one and only story from it was how awesome Hiroki Kuroda was last night. There's normal awesome, like he's been in his 2 or 3 best starts before this one, and then there's what he did last night. Just absolute domination and total command of the game from start to finish. He gave up 2 measly hits on the night against a stacked Rangers lineup, neither of which was hit hard at all, and just beat them to death with his slider. Kuroda racked up 17 GB outs last night out of the 22 that were in play, 22 of the 27 total either on the ground or via the K, and only 5 balls in play left the infield. Hiroki Kuroda was the absolute man last night, and all the Yankee lineup had to do to help him was have one inning where they scored a few runs.
- Kuroda recorded his 2 walks on the night in the first 3 innings. After the second one to Mitch Moreland, he retired the next 10 in order to keep a no-hitter intact through 6.
- Rangers' starter Matt Harrison showed that he wasn't an All Star for nothing and matched Kuroda's 0s through 6. The only good chance the Yankees got against him was a bases loaded, 2 outs chance in the 3rd that ended with Curtis Granderson flying out.
- Kuroda lost the no-hitter in the 7th on an infield hit by Elvis Andrus that Jayson Nix actually made a nice play on. From there, Kuroda calmly sat down the next 3 hitters, erased the next hit he gave up in the 8th with his second DP of the night, and killed any hope Texas had left.
- The Yankees only needed to score once and that was all they did in the 7th. Alexi Ogando relieved Harrison with 1 out and lost an 8-pitch battle with Nick Swisher that ended up a Swish HR to right to make it 2-0. Just for fun, Teix came up next and hit a solo shot of his own for the insurance.
- I wouldn't have blamed Joe if went with Rafael Soriano for the 9th. In fact, that's what I wanted him to do. No sense in playing games against a lineup that can turn a couple of mistakes into a tie game in a 5-pitch span. But he trusted Kuroda and Hiroki didn't let him down, finishing the Rangers off in order in the 9th for the CG.
- By any measure, statistical, situational, opponential (not a word), or otherwise, that was the best Yankee pitching performance of the 2012 season.
- Kuroda: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, CG, W. Game Score of 86 makes it officially the best Yankee pitching performance of the season, but even that doesn't do it justice. There aren't enough words to describe how great Hiroki was last night. He was an absolute artist with his slider on the outside corner to righties and had great mid-90s life on his fastball when he needed it. It's tough to make a lineup like the Rangers' look that bad, but Kuroda did it in spades last night. This "de facto ace" thing must really appeal to him.
- Teix: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. Got that XBH pull game going. The middle of the order certainly needed it last night.
- Granderson: 0-4, 2 K, 1 LOB. Still striking out a lot. It might be time to have a look with Dr. Long at what he's getting beaten on and change his approach up.
- Andruw Jones: 0-3, 1 BB. Whatever happened to the big, monster 2nd half breakout that Jones was set up for at the All Star break? This guy's been invisible lately.
A split for this series is already locked up, but with what the Yankees have done to Texas in the first 2 games, they should have the momentum and should be out for blood. Scott Feldman faces Freddy Garcia tonight, so runs should be a little easier to come by, and the Yankees have a well-rested bullpen behind Freddy.