Hiroki Kuroda gets through rain and five innings to get a win
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In the Yankees' seasonlong trend of giveth and taketh away, there's been a lot more take than give.
Before the Yankees' 2-0 win over the Twins on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, the latest example came in the form of a now-you-see-me, now-you-don't appearance by their Captain. Just one day after the Yankees were given back Derek Jeter, he was taken away with a quadriceps strain.
"He's one of many that we've either gotten close to getting back or have gotten back and then lost again," general manager Brian Cashman said before the game.
Friday night's starter Hiroki Kuroda, is no stranger to the give-and-take game. In his previous start, he gave seven shutout innings, only to have his win taken away on a blown save by Mariano Rivera. Both of Rivera's blown saves in 31 opportunities this season have come at the expense of a Kuroda win.
But Friday night, Kuroda gave the Yankees just enough and this time, Rivera secured the win rather than take it away.
Kuroda tossed four shutout frames prior to a 1-hour, 13-minute rain delay, allowing a runner to reach scoring position before escaping in each inning. Joe Girardi generally doesn't bring starters back out after extended rain delays, but Kuroda returned after the stoppage for the fifth. He allowed a two-out double to Joe Mauer and walk to Justin Morneau, then induced Ryan Doumit into a grounder to second.
"With all the preparation I made for tonight's start, I wanted to come back out there," Kuroda said through an interpreter. He later added, "I think I gave [Girardi] a very hard time."
Kuroda, who allowed six hits and two walks with five strikeouts, said he threw about 20 pitches during the delay and was told twice by Larry Rothschild that his night was done.
"We had him throw a little bit underneath and he talked to us about how he's done it a number of times and he was capable of doing it," Girardi said of bringing Kuroda back after the delay.
The extra inning of work paid off with a victory for Kuroda (8-6) when Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano hit RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth for the 2-0 lead.
Boone Logan came on in the seventh with two on and none out and struck out the side. The lefty got Chris Parmelee swinging with a fastball, Joe Mauer looking with a slider, then Justin Morneau on a failed check swing.
David Robertson threw a 1-2-3 eighth before Rivera threw a perfect ninth to earn his 30th save of the season. It was the 15th season in which Rivera has reached the 30-save plateau, surpassing Trevor Hoffman for the most all time.
"It doesn't mean anything to me," Rivera said. "I'm glad we won. That's the most important thing . . . I come here to play and to win. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that. But at the same time, I'm a team player. I hate to talk about myself."
Jeter's fit perfectly into the running theme of the Yankees' injury-riddled, give-and-take season. The giveth: Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson both returned from injury in May. The taketh away: Both played a handful of games before landing back on the DL.
Without Jeter and the high-scoring Yankees offense of the previous two games, Kuroda gave the Yankees just what they needed and the bullpen took it from there.
"He's a machine," Rivera said of Kuroda. "I'm glad I'm on his team."