Hiroki Kuroda shuts out the Blue Jays for 8 innings, allowing only 2 hits and a walk. (Photo courtesy of Newsday)
New York Yankees 5 — Toronto Blue Jays 0
Kuroda gave up a lead-off double to one-time Yankee Melky Cabrera to start the game, but then struck out the next two batters (Bautista and Encarnacion). This brought up J.P. Arencibia, who hit a line drive back to the mound, which was caught by Kuroda. A nice play by the Yankee pitcher and this first inning was the only time the Blue Jays threatened to score against Kuroda for the remainder of the game. He had it going.
In the bottom half of the first, Gardner led off the inning with a lined ball into the left-center gap, which was tracked down apprehensively by Cabrera. By the time the left-fielder got to the ball, Gardner was already heading to third. An easy triple. He was later driven in on a groundout by Cano, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Kuroda later picked off Munenori Kawasaki in the top of the third, ending any kind of rally the Blue Jays had in them. Other than that play, the second through fourth innings were rather uneventful, filled with some strikeouts, pop-outs, and ground balls. Pitchers making pitches, keeping the hitter off-balance.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees added a run on a sac fly by Jayson Nix, scoring David Adams. This made it 2-0 Yankees.
Kuroda kept on rolling through the 6th, as he went 1-2-3 for the third straight inning, retiring a total of 10 batters in a row. The top of the 6th inning ended on a nice play by Gardner, who really utilized his speed to make the play look easier than it was, as he ran in and made the play. Kuroda’s streak of consecutive batters retired ended at 11, as, in the top of the seventh, Encarnacion lined a single into left. An impressive run by Kuroda.
The Yankees broke out in the seventh inning. David Adams lined the first pitch of the inning over the head of Cabrera, who was frozen by the hit. That was followed by a sensational bunt base hit by Ichiro. He was just attempting to move Adams to third, but it was so perfect that it did not even draw a throw. The Yankees were set up with runners on first and third for Romine, who came through with an RBI double and knocked out starter Mark Buehrle, with the Yankees up 3-0. In relief, the Jays called on Aaron Loup, a lefty, to face Brett Gardner, who continued his good night with an RBI single past the drawn-in infield, and a diving Brett Lawrie, to score Ichiro and put the Yankees up 4-0. Jayson Nix followed with his second sac fly of the game, scoring Romine to make it 5-0. Cano ended the rally with a soft liner to the pitcher, which ended up being a double play, as Gardner was too far off the bag. However, the damage was done, as the Yankees were up 5-0 after 7 innings.
Kuroda finished 8 strong innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk. He kept batters off balance all night, even though he only had 5 strikeouts. Preston Claiborne came in to finish the game in the 9th. The Blue Jays got threatened, Claiborne prevailed.
The game ended on a pop-up behind the plate, where catcher Austin Romine looked a bit lost and almost lost his balance, but made the catch nonetheless, preserving the Yankees win and the shutout, their 4th shutout of the season.
Win: Hiroki Kuroda (6-2)
Loss: Mark Buehrle (1-3)
*Jayson Nix: 0-0, 2 RBI (9), 2 BB
*Brett Gardner: 2-3, R, RBI (15)
*David Adams: 2-4, 2 R
*Melky Cabrera: 2-4
*Edwin Encarnacion: 2-4
Current Yankees Record: 26-16