NEW YORK -- The way this season is going for Hiroki Kuroda, he'll happily take a win on a day when he labored through six innings.
Mark Teixeira hit a two-run single, Brett Gardner added an RBI double and the New York Yankees held on for a 4-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday in the opener of a single-admission doubleheader.
"As a pitcher, the win is always a good thing," Kuroda said through a translator. "Even though you may not have perfect stuff, to get the win is very encouraging."
It had been quite some time since Kuroda (3-3) came out a winner. He was 0-2 with three no-decisions since beating Boston on April 12.
Kuroda allowed a home run in the first Sunday to Neil Walker -- his ninth -- but then retired nine in a row before walking Andrew McCutcheon in the fourth. The right-hander was hurt by the home run again in the fifth, when Tony Sanchez led off with a drive to left field.
Kuroda was lifted after throwing 98 pitches and allowing five hits and two walks. He struck out seven in lowering his ERA to 4.61. The former Los Angeles Dodger improved to 6-1 against Pittsburgh.
"The mechanics, the command are not as good as last year," said Kuroda, who was 6-2 at this point last season.
New York needed four relievers to finish the opener of the first traditional twinbill at Yankee Stadium since 2004. David Robertson got four outs for his eighth save.
Brian McCann had an RBI single and New York scored all its runs in the first two innings on five hits after belting five home runs in a 7-1 victory Saturday.
The Yankees improved to 8-0 in interleague home games against Pittsburgh.
With the second game scheduled to begin about 30 minutes after the end of the first, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Derek Jeter would only start the opener. Girardi also said Jacoby Ellsbury would not start in center field both games after sitting out Saturday with flu-like symptoms.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said his main concern, though, was protecting his bullpen for the second game, and Charlie Morton (0-6) did just that with seven solid innings after a shaky start.
Morton walked Gardner to open the first. Jeter then bunted down the third base line for a hit and Ellsbury was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Teixeira, who homered Saturday. The hot-hitting first baseman lined his single to right-center. McCann followed with a single for a 3-1 lead.
"Well, I walked Gardner to lead off the game, the bunt's a hit, I hit Ellsbury, bases loaded, no outs," Morton said. "I backed myself in a corner and they took advantage."
Gardner doubled in the second but Morton settled down after that. He allowed just one baserunner the rest of his outing, and Zoilo Almonte, who singled with two outs in the fourth, was picked off first base -- after a replay overturned an original safe call.
Walker's RBI single in the fifth cut the lead to 4-3.
"We had some opportunities again," Hurdle said. "We pushed (Kuroda), pushed the pitch limit. He found outs when he had to to stay in the game and complete the innings that he pitched."
The Pirates scored three runs for Morton after giving him only three runs of support in his previous four starts. He gave up six hits and walked one with six strikeouts.
Notes: The doubleheader was scheduled to make up Friday night's rainout. ... Starling Marte struck out in each of his four at-bats. ... Yankees RF Carlos Beltran (right elbow) had a second cortisone shot to try to ease the discomfort in his right elbow from a bone spur. He will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. Girardi said Beltran had planned on getting the second opinion but Andrews wasn't available sooner. Girardi said Beltran is getting better. ... Girardi also acknowledged that LHP CC Sabathia might need surgery someday on his right knee because the condition is degenerative. Sabathia was returning from a visit to Andrews' office, where he had his knee drained and was given a cortisone shot. ... The Pirates' streak of the leadoff batter reaching in eight straight games ended when Travis Snider struck out looking. ... The Pirates recalled RHP Brandon Cumpton from Triple-A Indianapolis as the 26th man for the doubleheader. The Yankees brought up RHP Jose Ramirez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.