(Courtesy of Getty Images)
It's been a horrifically ugly 6 games for the Yankees in the last week. They're 1-5 in those games, their multi-game lead in the division is gone, and there haven't been any signs of things turning around soon. They haven't pitched well at times, they haven't hit well most of the time, and their team defense has cost them more runs that its saved. Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound to start last night, looking to get things going in the right direction for himself and the staff, while Joe went back to Carlos Beltran in right, Jacoby Ellsbury at the top, and Brett Gardner back at the bottom of the lineup to get the offense going.
- Joe's changes had little effect early. The Yanks were held scoreless through the first 4, managing only a pair of walks and a single. They stranded 2 in the top of the 3rd.
- Fortunately for them, Hirok was working and looked very much like the pitcher we've known over the last 2 years. He gave up 2 runs in the 3rd, but that was mainly due to more shitty infield defense. His sinker had good life and he was finally commanding his slider and splitter down.
- The Yankees decided to join the scoring party in the top of the 5th on 3 straight singles, the last by Brian Roberts to score a run, but had the festivities halted by a Jacoby Ellsbury RBI GIDP. They scratched across a third run in the 8th to take a 3-2 lead.
- Very strong finish for Kuroda, who retired 9 of the final 10 batters he faced, 4 of them via strikeout. He pitched 2 outs into the 8th and left after giving up a triple to Mike Trout.
- Joe had D-Rob at his disposal, but elected to go back to Shawn Kelley to get the final out of the inning. Kelley gave up the game-tying single to Albert Pujols and all looked lost.
- Brian Roberts made sure it wasn't. With 2 outs in the top of the 9th, Roberts crushed a first-pitch fastball from Ernesto Frieri into the RF seats for the go-ahead HR. D-Rob locked the comeback win down with a 1-2-3 bottom half.
- Kuroda: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 8 K. There was a lot to like about Kuroda's outing. Pick something. The long distance, the 108 pitch count (his first 100+ of the year), the no walks, the 8 strikeouts. This was vintage Hirok, and if he didn't have a slapdick infield playing behind him his line would have looked even better.
- Roberts: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. Gotta give credit where credit is due, he was the man last night.
- Brian McCann: 0-4, 2 LOB. Big Mac is just lost at the plate right now. Batting average is down to .209.
- Kelley: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. The run got charged to Hirok, but that was on Kelley. You can't fall behind Pujols 3-0 in the first place, and you can't throw him a hanger on 3-2 after you battle back in the at-bat. Come on, Shawn. Be better than that.
Rubber match tonight and it'd be nice to head into the travel day with a series victory. The starting pitchers are a pair of lefties, Vidal Nuno for the Yanks and Hector Santiago for the Halos.