Hiroki Kuroda had himself quite a game tonight.
Against a tough Texas Rangers lineup, he gave up only two hits in nine innings with two walks and five strikeouts. He had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, he threw 109 pitches – 74 of them for strikes and his ERA is now 3.06.
What a tremendous job he has done coming over from the National League.
It seemed like it was going to be a typical Kuroda start and that he would be victimized by the Yankee offense getting shut down. He’s been on the bad end of some great pitching performances this season. Specifically, Felix Hernandez‘s two-hit, complete game shutout on August 4.
Now, Kuroda has one of his own!
As for the Yankee offense, it was quiet until Rangers starter Matt Harrison was lifted for reliever Alexi Ogando. And thank goodness Harrison was lifted – his pitch count was up over 100 – because he held the Yankees to one run on five hits. He also walked three and struck out two.
Derek Jeter hit a single with one out in the seventh and Harrison was taken out of the game by Ron Washington.
Ogando came in to face Nick Swisher and after working the count to 3-2, Swish blasted a 97 m.p.h. offering from Ogando into the Yankees’s bullpen.
Not to be outdone, Mark Teixeira followed that up with a laser shot into Section 105 to make the score 3-0 Yankees.
So in a matter of minutes, the game went from being a 0-0 pitcher’s duel to being a sure fire Yankees victory. There was no way Kuroda was letting the Rangers get anything going in the eighth and ninth innings. Joe Girardi stuck with his man and Kuroda rewarded him with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to put an exclamation point on a job well done.
Thanks to Kuroda’s heroics, the Yankees bullpen’s arms were rested for a second night in a row, the Rangers’s vaunted lineup was shutdown and the Yankees won their 69th game of the season.
Some notes of interest:
- From @YankeeSource: The Yankees are 7-3 in last 10 games and 6-1 in last 7 games.
- From @YankeeSource: The Yankees are 82 for 249 w. RISP since the All Star Break, that’s a .329 BA w RISP.
- Jeter picked up hits #155 and #156 of the season tonight and keeps moving up the all-time hit list.
- From @yestoresearch: Last Yankee CG shutout of any kind against the Rangers was David Wells 8/21/98 at Arlington.
- From @yestoresearch: Last Yankee 2-hit shutout was Chien-Ming Wang vs. Devil Rays 7/28/06