Anthony Ranaudo has not been a good starting pitcher very early in his MLB career. Dom pointed that out before last night's game. Hiroki Kuroda has been quietly good yet again this season, and has remained the constant in performance and health while the rest of his rotation brethren fell around him. Both played up to their 2014 roles last night and the Yankees got a much needed win to even up the series against the Sawx.
Hirok had everything working right from the start. He struck out the side in the 2nd and 5 in his first 3 innings. The Sox only got 2 hits against him through 5, and one of those was immediately eliminated when Kuroda picked Daniel Nava off first for the first out of the 5th. He had great command of his sinker in the strike zone and peppered it for strikes, and a filthy splitter that the Boston hitters couldn't have touched with a canoe paddle.
The lineup, as they tend to do, took it easy on Ranaudo even though he was giving them chances. Brian McCann had the biggest hit of the night with a 2-run 2nd inning home run on a horrible 0-2 fastball. Those shouldn't have been the first runs of the game but they were after Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner hilariously ran themselves into an inning-ending double play to end the bottom of the 1st. They also loaded the bases in the 5th with 1 out and only got 1 run out of it and failed to score when they loaded them again in the 6th.
The one black mark on Kuroda's ledger came in the 6th when he hit Jemile Weeks with a 2-2 pitch and then grooved a sinker to Brock Holt. Holt smoke it out to deep left field and Gardner got turned around going for it, which led to him not making the catch and Weeks having plenty of time to fly around the bases and score the lone Boston Run.
The Yankee insurance came in the 7th, when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 1-out triple to deep left-center. Jeter walked to pass the baton to Gardner and BG brought Ellsbury home with a groundball single through the right side. After a Mark Teixeira 2-out walk, McCann knocked a base hit to right to bring in Jeter for a 4-run cushion. That was more than enough for Betances and D-Rob, who put in 2 solid innings to wrap things up.
- Seriously, what in the blue hell was that about with Gardner and Jeter in the 1st? That was some of the worst baserunning you'll ever see in your life. Nice hustle by The Captain back to the third base bag too. Really earning that commemorative patch. That's the type of bad "little things" baseball this team has played all year. Joe keeps saying "things have to change" and they don't. At what point is it fair to criticize him for that?
- Awesome night for Hirok. 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. He threw 73 strikes on 95 pitches and got 14 swings and misses. If only he could pitch on extra rest all the time.
- How about Big Mac coming out of the woodwork with a 4-hit night?! It wouldn't make up for the first 5 crappy months, but it would be encouraging for next year to see him have a hot September.
- D-Rob made his first appearance since last Friday. Absolutely flabbergasting to see him out there in a non-save situation.
- The Yanks tallied 11 hits last night, and McCann's homer and Ellsbury's triple were the only ones for extra bases. Where have you gone, power and patience?