Yanks Defeat Texas, 3-0
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, August 15- Starters Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Harrison engaged in an exciting pitching duel on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Kuroda was the superior pitcher of the night as he pitched a complete game victory over the Texas Rangers, 3-0. The win moved the Yankees 1.5 games ahead of the Rangers for the best record in the American League.
The Japanese native lived up the complimentary words uttered by Yankee skipper Joe Girardi before the contest, “He’s met our expectations definitely. He has pitched outstanding for us. Each start he really gives us a chance to win. He’s given us distance. He’s been extremely consistent. It’s what we expected when we got him. The one thing we talked about with Hiroki was this guy can really pitch and locate, and he’s done that.”
Kuroda thrilled the 44,533 fans in attendance by pitching no-hit ball through the first six frames. During that time, the only runners were Elvis Andrus, who walked in the first and Mitch Moreland, who walked in the third.
Andrus broke up the no-hitter with an infield single to lead-off the seventh. Josh Hamilton’s long fly to right and a wild pitch moved Andrus to third, where he was stranded when Nelson Cruz grounded out to end the inning.
Michael Young singled through the middle to begin the eighth, the second and final hit for Texas in the game.
After the contest concluded, Girardi’s words of praise for Kuroda were similar to those uttered before the game began, “It was probably our best pitching performance. I saw he was very good early on. It was pretty much fastball, slider to get ahead [of the batters].
The win was Kuroda’s 11th of the season. Girardi believes, “Realistically, he could have 15 or 16.”
When asked why he allowed Kuroda to complete the game, Girardi responded, “His pitch count was down [and] his pitches were still good.”
Kuroda, through an interpreter, responded to questions regarding how he felt when his no-hitter ended with the following words, “I feel bad; I let down all the fans. I had to regroup myself a little bit. Even if you throw a no-hitter, it’s only one win. The most important thing was for our team to win.”
Texas starter Matt Harrison handled the Yankees easily though 6.1 innings. Derek Jeter led off the first with a single to left field to raise his hitting streak to 10 games. The hit was his 3,243rd in the majors. Harrison gave up hits to Casey McGhee in the second, Mark Teixeira in the third and McGhee in the fourth.
Jeter, the last batter Harrison faced singled with one out in the seventh. Jeter, with 3,244 hits, needs only eight to tie Napoleon Lajoie for 12th place in the career rankings for hits. Of Harrison’s performance, Girardi remarked, “He seemed to get better as the game went on.”
Reliever Alexi Ogando gave up home runs to the first two batters against him. Nick Swisher followed Jeter with his 16th dinger of the year. Mark Teixeira, the next batter, blasted his 23rd of the 2012 campaign. Enough damage was done by Yankees batters that inning to ensure the victory.
The Yankees hope to increase their seven game winning streak over the Rangers in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night as Freddy Garcia (6-5) gets the start against Scott Feldman (6-7).