|N.Y. Yankees (6-5) «||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||x||3||7||2|
Kuroda pitched a five-hitter for his fifth major league shutout and Brett Gardner hit his first home run off a left-handed pitcher since July 2010, leading the New York over the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Sunday night.
|More on Orioles-Yankees|
|More MLB coverage|
"I thought his sinker was excellent," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Look at all the groundball outs he got."
Kuroda (2-1) struck out four and walked none, lifting the Yankees back over .500 at 6-5. New York's rotation was looking fraught coming in. Phil Hughes had been hit hard by the Orioles the previous day, and Andy Pettitte's scheduled return from back spasms had been pushed back to next weekend's series at Toronto.
The Japanese right-hander hadn't had much to be confident about, either. He took a line drive off the middle finger on his pitching hand in his first start and had to come out, then was shaky against Clevelandm, when he allowed four walks and five hits.
On Sunday night, Kuroda was locked in. He got 18 groundball outs, and the Orioles didn't get a runner past first base until Nick Markakis took second on Adam Jones' bouncer to third in the ninth. That brought the Orioles down to their final out, and Kuroda struck out Chris Davis for the third time.
"I was able to throw my sinker with precision," Kuroda said through an interpreter.
Kuroda's eighth inning ended with a snappy double play started by shortstop Jayson Nix, who ranged far to his left to scoop up Nate McLouth's grounder up the middle and flipped to Robinson Cano covering the bag for a 6-4-3 double play.
"He kept his pitch count down, that's why I kept running him out there." Girardi said. "I think he's got outstanding command and he really knows how to pitch."
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen (0-2) matched him until the fifth. Brennan Boesch led off with a single and scored on Nix's sacrifice fly, and Gardner hit a drive high off the right-field foul pole. Gardner had gone 178 at-bats without a home run off a lefty -- 198 including the postseason -- since connecting off Toronto's Ricky Romero on July 3, 2010.
"On the mound, I was thinking too much and that cost the big inning for us," Chen said through an interpreter.
A prototypical leadoff hitter with speed and a good on-base percentage, Gardner wasn't always a fixture atop the Yankees' lineup -- especially against left-handed starters. This season, he's led off in all 11 games.
Chen allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. dropping to 0-6 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 starts since winning Aug. 19 at Detroit. He's winless in three starts this season, though in his previous outing he held Boston to two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss.
"He pitched real well, gave us a chance to win," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We just weren't able to score any runs. With very few exceptions, he was just as good as Kuroda."
|The Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda strikes out four and walks none en route to his fifth career Major League shutout. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
Majestic New York Yankees Jersey
$79.95 Shop Now!
|Nate McLouth, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.263|
|Manny Machado, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.255|
|Nick Markakis, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.294|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.412|
|Chris Davis, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||.366|
|Matt Wieters, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.200|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.217|
|Ryan Flaherty, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.083|
|Nolan Reimold, DH||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.233|
|DP - Machado-Flaherty-Davis|
|Wei-Yin Chen (L,0-2)||6||6||3||3||1||2||1||4.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wei-Yin Chen 92-63, T.J. McFarland 27-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wei-Yin Chen 1-14, T.J. McFarland 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Wei-Yin Chen 24, T.J. McFarland 8|
|New York Yankees|
|Brett Gardner, CF||4||1||1||2||0||0||3||.244|
|Vernon Wells, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.324|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.311|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.333|
|Ben Francisco, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Brennan Boesch, RF||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.313|
|Francisco Cervelli, C||2||1||1||0||1||0||1||.360|
|Lyle Overbay, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.282|
|Jayson Nix, SS||2||0||1||1||0||0||1||.190|
|HR - Brett Gardner (2, Chen)|
|SF - Jayson Nix (1)|
|RBI - Brett Gardner 2 (6), Jayson Nix (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Brett Gardner 2 (5)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Cano-Nix-Overbay, Nix-Cano-Overbay|
|E - Jayson Nix (2, Misplayed grounder), Kevin Youkilis (2, Throwing)|
|New York Yankees|
|Hiroki Kuroda (W,2-1)||9||5||0||0||0||5||0||2.87|
|Pitches-Strikes - Hiroki Kuroda 113-79|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Hiroki Kuroda 18-4|
|Batters Faced - Hiroki Kuroda 32|
|Attendance - 34154|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 56|
|Umpires - Home - Manny Gonzalez, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Dan Bellino, Third Base - Larry Vanover|