No no-decision for Kuroda this time
Five days after getting hit with a very tough no-decision, Hiroki Kuroda got plenty of support from his teammates to ensure that would not happen again as the Yankees overcame terrible weather conditions Friday night to post a 2-0 victory over the railing Twins.
Kuroda had pitched a three-hit shutout over seven innings last Sunday against the Orioles in the game that was eventually lost on only the second blown save this season by Mariano Rivera. Mo practically apologized to Kuroda after that game, so there was plenty of satisfaction in nailing down the save for him this time.
Kuroda was able to be in place to secure a winning decision by coming back out to pitch after a 1-hour, 13-minute rain delay. Normally starters do not come back if a rain delay lasts for more than an hour, but with the All-Star break coming up there was plenty of time for Kuroda to rest before his next start.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi allowed Kuroda to convince him to stay in the game based on the pitcher’s contention that he had done so plenty of times before.
It was a scoreless game when Kuroda pitched the fifth inning, his last, so the Yankees needed to score for him to qualify for a victory. They held up their end of the bargaining by scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano.
Matters got dicey in the seventh under rainy conditions when Preston Claiborne gave up singles to Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier with none out. The potential tying runs that were threats to Kuroda’s lead were on base. Boone Logan did a magnificent job by striking out Chris Parmelee, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to keep the shutout in place.
David Robertson added two more punchouts in the eighth and turned the game over to Rivera, who did not slip up this time but retired the Twins in order for his 30th save.
Kuroda (8-6) was by no means flawless in this outing. He gave up six hits and threw a wild pitch but was stingy when it counted as the Twins stranded eight runners while going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in his five innings. Minnesota ended up 0-for-12 overall in clutch at-bats and left 10 runners on base.
The Yankees’ four-game sweep at Target Field July 1-4 began the current slide for the Twins, who have lost 11 of their past 12 games and are only one-half game out of last place in the American League Central.