He was overshadowed again last night, this time by a strange 10th inning at the Stadium that led to a 3-2 Yankees loss to the Red Sox in front of 48,526.
After the walk came Will Middlebrooks . . . and controversy.
On 0-and-1, Middlebrooks squared to bunt and appeared to offer, with the ball hitting his right hand as he leaned over the plate. He went down, as did plate umpire Brian O'Nora, who also was nicked on the play. But O'Nora did not call a hit batsman and the strike call enraged Bobby Valentine, who soon was ejected (Josh Beckett, who continued to chirp from the bench, was thrown out by third-base umpire Tom Hallion).
"They said it hit the bat," Valentine said afterward.
Middlebrooks singled to left on the next pitch, and after Ryan Sweeney grounded into a forceout at second, new Yankees-killer Pedro Ciriaco blooped a single to right to give Boston a 3-2 lead. The Yankees then turned their fifth double play of the game, but the damage was done.
"That's part of the game," Robertson said of the delay while Middlebrooks -- and O'Nora, for that matter -- were tended to. "It happens sometimes."
Said Joe Girardi, "He got beat on a bloop hit. It's going to happen. And he gave up an 0-2 hit. That's probably what hurt him the most."
Alfredo Aceves (2-6), who had allowed a tying RBI single by Russell Martin with two outs in the eighth, pitched the final 21/3 innings for Boston. He hit Nick Swisher with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but Raul Ibañez -- who has had his share of crucial late-inning hits this season -- struck out to end it.
After a rough loss Friday, the Red Sox (51-51) rebounded to win the final two games of the series. The Yankees (60-41) have lost seven of 10 but still have a 71/2-game lead over the Orioles, who start a three-game series at the Stadium Monday night, and Rays.
Kuroda, who entered his start against the Red Sox at 10-7 with a 3.34 ERA, was very good in his eight innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and a walk. He induced four double-play balls to limit the damage against him to Sweeney's two-out, two-run double in the second. Said Kuroda, "You have to stay tough and keep making your pitches through every inning."
Boston lefthander Felix Doubront shut out the Yankees on two hits for six innings before Martin homered to lead off the seventh, an inning in which the Yankees came away feeling they should have at least tied it. After Martin's homer, they put runners on first and third with one out, but Andrew Miller got Curtis Granderson to pop to short leftfield and retired Mark Teixeira on a grounder to second.
But with two outs in the eighth, Andruw Jones doubled off Miller and scored on Martin's single off Aceves to tie the score at 2.
Said Girardi, "We really didn't have a lot of opportunities. Doubront was tough on us. And he's been tough on us all three of his starts. He was using all his pitches. His changeup was good, his fastball was locating, his cutter was good. He threw enough curveballs to keep our guys off balance."