(All the high fives to this guy. Courtesy of the AP)
After failing to put up more than 4 runs in each of their first 5 games, the Yankees broke out late against Detroit on Sunday, putting a 7-spot on the scoreboard when all was said and done. If there was a game where that needed to continue, it was yesterday's game in which Hiroki Kuroda was returning to the mound to make his regularly-scheduled start despite still feeling some numbness in his injured middle finger. Kuroda was able to get through 5+ innings, while the offense continued to trend in the right direction.
- No time was wasted in getting to Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez. With 2 on and 1 out in the top of the 1st, Travis Hafner crushed a 3-run HR to center field and the Yanks led 3-0.
- It was a good thing too because Kuroda struggled in the bottom half. He gave the 3 runs back on 3 singles, 2 walks, and 2 sac flies, and he certainly looked as though he was having trouble with his injured finger and his command.
- Hafner recaptured the lead in the top of the 3rd with an RBI single to score Robinson Cano, who doubled to lead off the inning. That was the end of the fireworks for Hafner, but Cano was just getting started.
- After another run on a Brett Gardner ribbie single in the 4th, Cano led off the top of the 5th with a HR to left-center field. That all but ended Jimenez's day, and probably struck fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers everywhere.
- Cano wasn't done, stroking another solo shot to right in the 6th. 3 more runs tacked on in the 7th gave the Yankee offense 5 straight innings with at least 1 run and an 11-3 lead.
- Kuroda was much sharper in his last couple innings, finding the feel for his sinker and splitter and holding the Indians scoreless until he departed with 1 out in the 6th.
- Shawn Kelley came on and gave up 3 runs in the 8th, which didn't affect the outcome but wasn't encouraging. Joba followed him up with a scoreless, albeit BB-filled 9th inning.
- Cano: 3-4, 2 HR, 1 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB. We were all waiting patiently for Robbie to break out, and he did in a big way yesterday. 2 bombs, 4 runs scored, 4 times on base. I think he's doing just fine, kiddies.
- Hafner: 2-3, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB. How's that for a homecoming?? The big goon has done exactly what the Yankees signed him to do. Just keep staying healthy, Pronk. Don't rush around the bases.
- Kelley: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. He certainly hasn't looked like a better option than David Aardsma thus far. He's erratic and very hittable.
Andy Pettitte looks to follow up his 8-inning debut with an equally great outing tonight as the Yankees return to a regular time after some early scheduling weirdness. He'll be opposed by Carlos Carrasco.