Yanks victims of 1st Coors Field shutout in 2013

For five innings Tuesday night, it appeared Hiroki Kuroda would turn the tables on Coors Field, the Denver yard where he had a lot of problems during his years with the Dodgers. Kuroda was 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA at Coors and 1-5 with a 5.52 ERA overall against the Rockies.

Kuroda, who has been the Yankees’ best starting pitcher in the early going this season, had a two-hit shutout working into the sixth and got the first two outs that inning in short order. Then just as quickly, the game fell out of his grasp.

Josh Rutledge got one of his three hits, a single to center field, before Carlos Gonzalez dealt the killing blow to Kuroda by driving a 3-2 fastball to right field for his seventh home run and a 2-0 Colorado lead that held up as the final score.

It was a tough loss for Kuroda, who scattered seven hits and walked only one batter with three strikeouts in seven innings. Even with the loss, his ERA is an enviable 2.30. The game came down to that one pitch, the full-count heater to Gonzalez.

If the Yankees thought they would pad their batting averages and power number at offensive-friendly Coors Field, they were sadly mistaken. They managed merely four hits, all singles, off four Colorado pitchers in the first shutout at Coors Field this season, in 17 games.

Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa, who gave up three hits over the first six innings, continued his career success against the Yankees by improving to 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA against them. Despite his good numbers, the Yankees had hit .302 as a team against De La Rosa, but after Tuesday night that figure fell to .257.

The Yankees had won five of their past seven games against left-handed starters and were an American League-best 8-3 against them overall. Once again, they played without shortstop Eduardo Nunez, who is still bothered by a irritated left ribcage. Also, with no designated hitter in play in a National League park for the inter-league series, the Yankees were able to get only one at-bat for Travis Hafner off the bench (he grounded out batting for Kuroda in the eighth).

Despite a sloppy track caused by a steady rainfall during the game (hey, it could have been worse; snow is not uncommon in Colorado in May), the Yankees had four stolen bases, including swipes of second and third by Ichiro Suzuki on successive pitches in the third inning. Three of the five runners that the Yankees left on base in the game were in scoring position. They were 0-for-5 in those situations.

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