The Yankees got on the board in the 4th, finally getting to Rays’ starter David Price to cut the lead in half on RBI singles from Andruw Jones and Eduardo Nunez, but those would be the only runs the Yankees would get off of Price, despite Price walking four batters in 6.1 innings pitched. The Rays would get those runs back in the 6th inning when Kuroda allowed back to back doubles to begin the inning and then gave up a two out RBI single to Jennings following a walk of Reid Brignac. At that point, Joe Girardi had seen enough and he turned the game over to the bullpen. Kuroda finished having allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched in his less than stellar debut.
The Rays added a couple of insurance runs off of Rapada in the 7th, which proved to be quite important as the Yankees’ bats finally came to life in the top of the 9th. Curtis Granderson started the inning with a triple before being driven in by a sacrifice fly by Raul Ibanez. Nick Swisher did the big damage, however, with a three run home run off of Josh Lueke to bring the Yankees within two runs with only one out remaining. Robinson Cano then worked a walk to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Alex Rodriguez, but new Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney got A-Rod to groundout to second to end the impromptu Yankee threat.
The loss drops the Yankees to 0-2 for the first time since 2009, when they dropped two straight in Baltimore to open the season.
Nick Swisher: Swisher had the home run in the 9th to give the Yankees a fleeting chance to tie the game, and he also drew two walks in the game.
Curtis Granderson: Granderson followed a disappointing Opening Day performance by going 2-4 with a triple and a couple of runs scored.
Cory Wade: It was a rough night for Yankees’ pitchers, but Wade had a decent mop-up time performance, getting five outs without allowing a base runner, striking out three in the process.
Hiroki Kuroda: It’s impossible to say how the night might have gone differently had Eduardo Nunez not made that first inning error and the Rays had gone down in order, but after that Kuroda did not look sharp, struggling with his command and failing to keep the ball off of the Rays’ bats when he needed to.
Clay Rapada: Not really his fault, as he was put out of his element in garbage time, but Rapada allowed as many runs (two) as he got outs, and those runs wound up being the difference after the Yankees’ ninth inning rally came up just short.
Eduardo Nunez: Would Nunez make an error on his very first play in the field? Of course he would.
The Yankees will try to avoid the sweep today, and they’ll send Phil Hughes to the mound to do it. Hughes is trying to redeem himself after a disastrous 2011, and he began that process with a fantastic spring training. Today it begins to really matter though. He’ll be opposed by 2011 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson. First pitch is at 1:40 P.M.