Friday, July 11, 2014

Entering the night just four games back of the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles, Hiroki Kuroda took the mound for the Yankees with a chance to close the gap this weekend as the two teams opened up a three-game series on Friday at Camden Yards. Kuroda pitched a great game, but it wasn't enough for the Yanks to beat the O's, who walked off in the 10th inning for a 3-2 win.

Brian Roberts, who returned home to Baltimore for the first time since signing with the Yankees over the winter, opened the scoring with a solo homerun off of Miguel Gonzalez in the 2nd inning, giving the Bombers a 1-0 lead. An inning later, in the 3rd, Kelly Johnson, the DH for the night, made it a 2-0 game with a solo shot of his own to open the inning.

And that was all she wrote for the Yankees' offense, which had another poor game collecting just seven hits, including those two solo homeruns.

Kuroda had only given up one hit through the first three innings -- a Nick Hundley single with two outs in the 3rd -- and was pitching pretty well until the Orioles scored a pair of runs in the 4th to tie the game.

Kuroda hit Steve Pearce to open the inning, then Adam Jones reached on an infield single hit to Derek Jeter; that set up runners on the corners with nobody out. With Nelson Cruz at the plate, Pearce scored on a wild pitch by Kuroda. Cruz struck out, then with Chris Davis at the plate, Kuroda threw another wild pitch that got Jones to third. He would come in to score on a sac-fly by Davis, making it a 2-2 game.

I missed not of the game, so I didn't get to see how well Kuroda actually pitched, but his numbers suggest that it was a pretty good night. He made it through seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits, without a walk and three strikeouts, throwing 103 pitches.

Gonzalez, for Baltimore, was just as good, pitching eight innings of two-run ball, giving up six hits with five strikeouts on 106 pitches.

Dellin Betances pitched two very strong innings for the Yankees, retiring six of the seven Orioles hitters he faced in the 8th and 9th -- hitting Pearce with a pitch in the 8th -- to help send the game to extra innings.

Adam Warren, who last faced the O's on June 22 in New York when he was tagged for four runs in one inning, opened on the mound for the Yankees in the 10th. Manny Machado led off with a double into the right field corner. Warren struck out Ryan Flaherty for the first out of the inning, but the next batter, Hundley, ended the game with a walk-off single up the middle.

Another tough loss for the Yankees, who fall back to .500 on the season at 46-46. They wasted a good start from Kuroda by not scoring enough runs in a pretty winnable game. We can talk all day about the mangled pitching staff, but the offense hasn't been anything special either.

Shane Greene and Chris Tillman will be on the mound for their teams Saturday afternoon, when the Yankees continue this three-game series at 4:05 pm ET.



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