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The shoe was on the completely different foot from where it was 1 Sunday ago for the Yankees this afternoon. They were in position to sweep the Baltimore Orioles out of town and put a little bit of distance between them in the AL Wild Card race, as well as keep their new season-high 6-game winning streak going. They had a returning Hiroki Kuroda on the mound after he missed a few days due to a hip flexor strain. He came through his last bullpen without issue and the call was made to put him right back to work. How did he fare on a hot day against Baltimore's Jason Hammel? Not too shabby actually.
- Although they didn't have much to show for it (Eduardo Nunez sac fly), the Yanks definitely made Hammel work. They fouled off a ton of pitches and made him throw 53 pitches just to get through the first 2 innings.
- Kuroda didn't look bothered by the hip and got off to an excellent start. He located well down in the zone, was constantly working from ahead in the count, and got around a couple of doubles with no issue to keep the O's scoreless through 4.
- Hammel was out after 5 innings, but with the Yanks only pushing the 1 run across they still needed to tack on against the bullpen. They didn't do it over the next 3 innings and it came back to bite them later.
- Kuroda, working much more efficiently than Hammel, stayed strong and scoreless through 7. As he usually does when he's feeling good, he started working his splitter more the second and third time through the order.
- He didn't appear tired after the 7th, but Joe played it safe with Kuroda at 88 pitches and decided to go to his overworked bullpen horses again. D-Rob did the job in the 8th, but Mo didn't have a lot of movement on his cutter in the 9th. After just missing giving up a HR to Nick Markakis, he did to Adam Jones on a ball down the middle to make it 2-1 Baltimore.