Kuroda and Gardner lead the way to Yankee victory over the Orioles


The New York Yankees, behind a complete game shutout by Hiroki Kuroda, and a three-run fifth inning by the Yankees' makeshift lineup, took the series from the Baltimore Orioles, two games to one. Jayson Nix drove in the first run in the fifth inning off of Orioles' starter Wei-Yin Chen with a sacrifice fly and then Brett Gardner hit a booming two-run homer to round out the scoring.

Kuroda was magnificent. He had all of his pitches working and induced 21 ground balls on 25 batted balls by the Orioles, allowing only five hits and no walks. Kuroda struck out five and even worked around two errors by the left side of his infield. The Yankees' starter threw 70% of his 113 pitches for strikes and it was not until the ninth inning when a runner got to second on defensive indifference, did the Orioles get a runner into scoring position.

Wei-Yin Chen matched Kuroda for the first four innings though he was not as sharp as Kuroda. It seemed like Chen was in the middle of the strike zone most of the time and the Yankees could not square him up. Kevin Youkilis just missed a homer in his first at bat. In Brett Gardner's second at bat, the center fielder fouled off six straight down-the-middle pitches before hitting into a double play.

But the Yankees broke through in the fifth. Brennan Boesch, a surprise starter in place of Ichiro Suzuki, hit his second straight single to lead off the inning. Francisco Cervelli followed with another single to left. Lyle Overbay hit a deep drive to right that allowed Boesch to tag up and go to third. Then Nix hit his sacrifice fly to deep right to score Boesch. Gardner then turned on an inside fastball and hit it a mile. The only question was if the drive would stay fair. It just barely did by bouncing off the top of the foul pole. The Yankees took a 3-0 lead and that is how the score ended. Robinson Cano did not do much at the plate on this night, but he was terrific in the field and converted a double play in the eighth inning that was spectacular.

This win was all Kuroda. He exploited the Orioles weakness of not being patient at the plate to perfection and never gave them a chance. Kuroda improved his record to 2-1. Chen took the loss and dropped his record to, 0-2.