Stormy night for Kuroda

The rain that was expected before Sunday night’s game didn’t start falling until after the fifth inning. After David Ortiz led off the sixth with his 10th home run to push the Red Sox’ lead to 3-0 and Mike Napoli singled, rain came down hard during Stephen’s Drew at-bat and after he flied out to left field play was interrupted.

For the second straight start, the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda was paired with an unbeaten opposing starter. Last Tuesday night at Citi Field, it was the Mets’ 5-0 Mike Harvey in a game the Yanks eventually lost in the bottom of the ninth inning on the first blown save of the year by Mariano Rivera. Sunday night Kuroda was pitted against Boston’s 8-0 Clay Buchholz, who has mounted a Cy Young Award candidacy in the early going.

The Yankees managed two measly singles off Buchholz in the first five innings as their offensive malaise continued. Kuroda had a stretch of 10 consecutive scoreless innings end in the fourth as the Red Sox scratched out a run on successive singles by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and an infield out by Mike Napoli for his sixth RBI of the series.

The Red Sox jolted Kuroda with leadoff home runs in the fifth and sixth, respectively, by Jose Iglesias, his first of the season, and Ortiz. The two home runs in successive innings equaled the total Kuroda had allowed in his previous four starts covering 24 2/3 innings.

Play resumed but only momentarily. Boone Logan took over for Kuroda and finished the top of the sixth. Andrew Miller was announced as the Boston reliever for Buchholz but did not throw a pitch as another thunderstorm hit merely four minutes after the resumption of play. Back came the tarp. The crew got the infield covered in time as a storm of somewhat violent proportions resulted in cascades of water soaking Yankee Stadium.

The Red Sox’ 3-0 victory in the rain-shortened game was the seventh loss in the past eight games for the Yankees, who have totaled 15 runs over that stretch for an average of only 1.88 runs per game. By taking the series, 2 games to 1, Boston increased its lead in the American League East to three games over the Yankees, who dropped into third place, a half-game behind Baltimore.

The only good news for the Yankees was that catcher Chris Stewart found out that he does not have a concussion. Stewart was scratched from the starting lineup because of light-headedness and underwent a CT scan and other tests at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Stewart’s status will be re-evaluated Monday when the club also has a decision to make about how to create space on the 25-man roster for Andy Pettitte, who is expected to come off the disabled list to start the opener of a three-game series against the Indians.

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