NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees tags out Nick Markakis #21 of the Baltimore Orioles who tried to steal home off of a wild pitch as Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees who flipped the ball to Hiroki looks on during their game on April 30, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
It's about time a starting pitcher other than CC Sabathia stepped up their game.
Hiroki Kuroda dazzled the Baltimore Orioles tonight, pitching seven strong innings allowing merely one run on four hits and one walk while striking out three. His pitch count stood at 87 when Yankee manager Joe Girardi opted to go with David Robertson and Mariano Rivera to close out the game. The only run allowed by Kuroda was a sacrifice-fly surrendered to Chris Davis in the top of the second inning.
Robertson struck out the side in the eighth inning and Rivera allowed a single to J.J. Hardy before inducing the Nick Markakis 6-4-3 double play to capture his fifth save of 2012. Rivera now has 608 saves all-time.
New York's run production came courtesy of Eric Chavez, who belted a two-run bomb off the back wall in the Yankee bullpen to put the Yankees up 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Chavez has played admirably as a backup third baseman/DH, stroking the ball at a .321 clip (9 for 28).
The play of the night came in the top of the seventh inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, Kuroda threw a wild pitch to former Yankee Wilson Betemit. Markakis made a break for home plate, but Russell Martin flipped the ball to Kuroda in time for the final out of the inning, preserving New York's 2-1 lead.
Mark Teixeira was the only player on either team to have multiple hits tonight, reaching base on two singles in the second and the sixth innings, respectively.
Credit is due where credit is deserved, and Jason Hammel pitched well tonight for the Orioles, going six innings and only allowing the two-run homer to Chavez. New York could muster only four singles, a home run and two walks while Hammel struck out five Yanks. Matt Lindstrom and Jim Johnson pitched hitless ball in the seventh and eighth.
The Yankees (13-9) are now 4-0 against the Orioles (14-9) this season and still trail them by one game in the win column in the American League East.
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