(Just a few rings out there... Courtesy of the AP)
It was a strange season-opening schedule for the Yankees. They started off on the road in Houston, then bounced to Toronto for a 3-gamer before heading back to The Stadium for their home opener today. It got even stranger when they had to win yesterday just to salvage a .500 record in those first 2 series, but that will happen when you don't hit much. A dose of home cooking, an Opening Day atmosphere in The Stadium, and Hiroki Kuroda on the mound should have been a recipe for some more runs and a W. In the end, it was just enough.
- The Yankees created plenty of opportunities with their patience against a shaky Ubaldo Jimenez early. They had 2 on, 1 out in the bottom of the 2nd and runners on the corners with no outs in the 3rd, but only managed to push 1 run across on a Jeter GIDP.
- Kuroda looked sharp in his first 3 innings, but he did cough up the lead in the top of the 4th on a pair of well-placed singles up the middle to beat the shift. Kudos to the O's hitters for hitting 'em where the Yankee infielders weren't.
- The lineup struck back immediately to regain the lead, continuing to stay patient and making Jimenez work. A 2-out walk and a Yangervis Solarte single in the 4th plated 1 run. A flurry of hits and walks (including a Jeter leadoff double) led to 2 more runs and the end of Jimenez's day in the 5th.
- As the Yanks grew the lead, Kuroda settled in. At least until the 7th. Just like CC yesterday, Hirok ran into trouble in his last inning of work. A Chris Davis leadoff double and a pair of singles made it a 4-2 game and ended Hirok's day.
- D-Rob was unavailable for the 9th today, for what we now know to be injury-related reasons, so it was an "all hands on deck" audition for the rest of the crew. Matt Thornton and David Phelps escaped Kuroda's jam in the 7th, Adam Warren worked around a leadoff walk with 2 Ks in the 8th, and Shawn Kelley handled a 1-2-3 9th for the save.
- Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 CS. Another strong day in the outfield and a very strong day at the plate in the 3-hole for Ellsbury. He's doing a little bit of everything right now.
- Kuroda: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. The high hit total makes it seem worse than it really was. The bottom line is that I'm never not going to give Kuroda his props when he goes 6+ and allows 2 or fewer.
- Alfonso Soriano: 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. It's been a real tough start for Soriano after his ST flu, so a day with 2 hits and 3 times on base is a positive sign.
- Brian McCann: 0-4, 2 LOB. Seems like he's in a bit of a rush at the plate. He fouled out first-pitch swinging in his first AB of the game and on a day where the team drew 6 walks, he only saw a 2-ball count once. Made a nice throw to catch a guy napping on the bases to end the 5th though.
These 2 will get right back at it tomorrow afternoon, as Ivan Nova and Wei-Yin Chen square off.