With the Yankees coming off of a 3-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, Sunday gave you the feeling that you were almost watching the same game, as the Yankees were trailing 4-0 heading into the 9th inning, with just four hits to their credit.
Thanks to a two-out homerun in the 9th by Jacoby Ellsbury -- which was his 10th of the season, reaching that feat for the second time in his career -- the Yankees avoided being shutout in back-to-back for the first time since 1999, but they still fell to the Indians, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.
Hiroki Kuroda's stuff wasn't at it's best, and he had to battle all day long. Cleveland scored a run in the opening frame of the game to go up 1-0. Jason Kipnis singled and moved to second base on a wild pitch an out later. Then Michael Brantley singled to left to score Kipnis.
Kuroda retired the side in the second inning, then opened the 3rd inning by giving up another leadoff hit to Kipnis, this time a double to right field. Kipnis moved to third base on a sac-fly, then scored on another sac-fly by Brantley, who picked up his second RBI of the day to make it a 2-0 game.
Kuroda roughest inning was his last one, in the 5th. He hit Ryan Raburn to kick things off, then gave up a one-out single two batters to Jose Ramirez. Kuroda walked Carlos Santana to lead the bases with still just one-out ahead of Yan Gomes, who walked to force in a run, pushing the lead to 3-0.
That was the end of Kuroda's day, as Joe Girardi brought in David Huff out of the bullpen to get the final out of the inning, which he didn't by getting Lonnie Chisenhall to ground out.
Like I said, Kuroda's stuff wasn't that great. He had to throw a lot of pitches, walking four people -- he threw 97 pitches in 4.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. Even more, the Yankees' offense did nothing to back him up.
Huff worked a three up, three down 6th inning before putting on two of the first three batters in the 7th inning. He handed the ball off to Shawn Kelley, who struck out Santana, then gave up an RBI single to Gomes, giving him his second RBI of the game to extend the lead 4-0.
Prior to Jacoby Ellsbury's solo homerun off of Cody Allen with two outs in the 9th inning that gave the Yankees their first run in almost 20 innings, making it a 4-1 game, pitching prospect Bryan Mitchell, called up on Friday, took the mound in the 8th to make his major league debut.
Mitchell walked the first batter he faced, Zach Walters, before retiring the next three hitters in order, including a strikeout of Kipnis for his first major league punch out. Mitchell went back out to the mound in the 9th, tossing a 1-2-3 inning.
Next up for the Bombers, they'll hit the road for six games this week, starting in Baltimore, where they will play a big three-game series against the Orioles with a chance to gain some ground in the AL East leaders. First pitch for Monday's contest is set for 7:05 p.m. ET, with Chris Capuano on the hill for the Yankees, taking on right-hander Bud Norris.