Kuroda Becomes Road Warrior, Blanks Athletics

GAME $7

YANKEES 2, ATHLETICS 0

The Yankees’ weekend trip to Oakland should be called the  “Road to Redemption.”

First, Mark Teixeira’s long slumbering bat came to life and on Sunday the fabled right arm of Hiroki Kuroda started to pay dividends outside of the Bronx.

Kuroda pitched eight shutout innings to end a three-game losing streak and collect his first road victory of the season as New York blanked Oakland for a three-game sweep at o.co Coliseum.

Kuruda (4-6) entered the contest 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA away from Yankee Stadium this season, but he shut down the Athletics sputtering offense on just four hits and one walk while striking out three batters to win his first game since May 11 at home against the Seattle Mariners.

Meanwhile, the Yankees put up just enough runs against rookie left-hander Tommy Milone (6-4) to win their eighth consecutive game at o.co Coliseum, a streak that dates back to July 2011. Milone had entered the contest 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA at home this season.

Designated hitter Andruw Jones put the Yankees on the board early by blasting a first-pitch fastball from Milone over the wall in left-center to lead off the second inning.

That run stood up until the seventh inning, when the Yankees tacked on an insurance run with two outs. Curtis Granderson singled to right and Teixeira followed with a double off the wall in right-center that scored Granderson. Teixeira began the series in a terrible slump and was 8-for-14 (.571) with three home runs and eight RBIs in the series.

Milone gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks and he struck out three in 6 2/3 innings.

Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Seth Smith swinging as the tying run at the plate, to earn his fifth save in as many opportunities on the season.

The A’s, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight loss as the Yankees racked up their fifth straight victory.

The Yankees’ season record now stands at 26-21. The A’s fell to 22-26.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • For as bad as Kuroda has been in his last three starts, he was exceptional against the A’s. He faced the minimum through the first four innings and he did not allow a runner to reach second base until the seventh inning. He also pitched out of a jam in the seventh with Coco Crisp on third and Smith on first and one out by striking out Kila Ka’aihue and retiring Josh Donaldson on a routine fly ball. With his eight shutout innings, Kuroda lowered his ERA from 4.56 to 3.96.
  • Teixeira was 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles, including the one that padded the Yankees’ lead in the seventh inning. Manager Joe Girardi even entrusted him by batting him third in the lineup after he has spent most of the season batting fifth. Teixeira entered the series hitting .226 and he leaves with his average up to .254.
  • Jones’ home run was his fifth of the season and his first home run since May 11 against the Mariners. Oddly, that was the same game in which Kuroda won his last game. Perhaps it is something in the combination that is at work here.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • The Yankees loaded the bases in the first inning against Milone when Derek Jeter led off with a single, Granderson walked and, one out later, Alex Rodriguez singled sharply to right-field. However, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher popped up weakly to end the threat. The Yankees are one for the last 30 at-bats with the bases loaded.
  • In addition, the Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the game. Swisher struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt with two on and one out in the third inning and he left a total of five runners on base in the game.
  • Advancing runners has also been a problem. In the second inning, Jayson Nix followed Jones’ home run with a double. However, Chris Stewart failed to advance him when he popped up a bunt. In the third, Teixeira led off with a double and Rodriguez grounded out to third and failed to move him up. This is why the Yankees struggle to get runs across.

BOMBER BANTER

Jeter’s single to lead off the game gave him 3,155 hits in his career and he passed Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett to claim 14th place on the all-time hits list. Next up on the list is Cal Ripken, who is in the 13th place with 3,184 hits.  . . .  Starting catcher Russell Martin was held out of Sunday’s game with a stiff neck. Stewart caught Kuroda instead. The Yankees do not think the condition is serious and they hope Martin will be able to play on Monday.

ON DECK

Having swept Oakland, the Yankees head on to Anaheim for a three-game series that starts on Monday.

Phil Hughes (4-5, 4.94 ERA) will return to pitch in front of family and friends at Angel Stadium, which is near where he was born. Hughes has won three of his last four starts and beat the Royals on Tuesday, giving up just two runs on five hits in six innings. He is 3-2 with a 7.61 ERA in his career against the Angels.

He will face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA). Weaver gave up just one run in eight innings against the Athletics on Wednesday, but he did not get a decision in what ended up as a Los Angeles victory. Weaver is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 9:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

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