Yankees Hurlers Shut Out Blue Jays, 5-0
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 18- The Yankees remained on top of the American League East standings after shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-0 in game #1 of a three-game weekend series. The outstanding performance of starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was especially reassuring to Yankees fans as approximately one hour before the game began it was announced that veteran starting pitcher Andy Pettitte was being placed on the 15 day disabled list. Pettitte is the 13th Yankees player who has been on the DL this year.
Kuroda has been the most impressive of the Yankees starting rotation. The win on Friday night raised his record to 6-2. His ERA has fallen to a season low of 1.99. The native of Japan kept his opponent scoreless for the second time this year. Kuroda retired 23 of the 26 batters he faced, 16 of the final 17. He gave up only two hits and one walk in eight innings. Rookie Preston Claiborne completed the shutout by blanking the Blue Jays in the ninth although he did yield two hits. Claiborne has not given up a run in eight innings of relief in 2013. Coincidently, on the 15th anniversary of the perfect game pitched by David Wells, excellent pitching was the story for the Yankees.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi, obviously, expressed high praise for his starter, “He [Kuroda] was just really, really good. He had a very good fastball, a very good slider and a very good split. It’s nice whenever you don’t have to use your bullpen. He continues to impress us.”
Kuroda realized his pitches were effective early in the game, “Early in the first inning when I struck out [Edwin] Encarnación and [Jose] Bautista, I knew I was in a good position.” After surrendering a lead-off double to former Yankee Melky Cabrera, Kuroda fanned the next two batters.
The Yankees scored what proved to be the winning run after the first three batters in the game. Brett Gardner tripled off starter Mark Buehrle. Jayson Nix drew a base on balls. Robinson Cano’s ground out to second drove in the first tally of the game.
Yankee third sacker David Adams, playing in his third big league game, was successful at the plate. With a single and a double, he recorded his first multi-hit game. The last Yankee player to hit in each of his first three contests was Shelley Duncan in 2007. Adams scored his first runs in the majors after each of his hits. The young player said, “I’m blessed to be here. On days like this this [Yankee wins], it’s awesome.” Adams recognizes his role on the team, “I’m just trying to do my job, take some pressure off the big guys.”
David Phelps (1-2) will start for New York on Saturday afternoon against Brandon Morrow (1-2).