After last Sunday's start in Kansas City, one in which Hiroki Kuroda allowed two runs in 72/3 innings in another Yankees victory, he made a surprising statement. "I don't feel I was particularly good today,'' said Kuroda, who was a bit irritated with his command at times.
It's doubtful that he found much to quibble with Friday night. Kuroda bewildered the Blue Jays for eight innings as the Yankees beat Toronto, 5-0, in front of 40,008 at the Stadium.
"All of my pitches were pretty good today,'' Kuroda said.
Few pitchers have been as important to their team as Kuroda -- who allowed two hits and a walk in improving to 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA -- has been to the injury-riddled Yankees. "He's been so good for us,'' Joe Girardi said. "Just the innings he's given you, given the bullpen a lot of nights off. The quality starts he's given us. He has been outstanding.''
Kuroda retired 18 of 19 hitters at one point, picking off the only runner he allowed, and faced 26 batters in his eight innings.
Catcher Austin Romine said Kuroda's sinker was especially impressive and that his splitter and fastball were just as good. "Every once in a while you can feel it out there when a pitcher goes out there and no matter what you put down, it's usually going to be a good pitch,'' Romine said. "It made my life a lot easier. He pitched to the glove the whole night.''
Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, who was 1-9 with a 6.19 ERA in 14 starts against the Yankees, dropped his eighth straight decision against them, allowing five runs and six hits in six innings.
After David Adams, making his third straight start at third after his call-up Wednesday, doubled to lead off the seventh, Romine chased Buehrle with an RBI double that made it 3-0. Brett Gardner's single gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead and Jayson Nix's second sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
Adams and Romine, who have moved through the club's system together, each had two hits. They continued the trend of what's allowed the Yankees to flourish despite all their injuries.
"When you think of the Yankees, you don't think of some of us old bums who are here and some of these young kids that are here,'' Vernon Wells said. "Still, no matter who's in the lineup or who's on the mound, you're expected to go out and win games. That's just the expectation that comes with this uniform.''
Notes & quotes: Chris Stewart left Thursday night's game after feeling discomfort in his left groin, but GM Brian Cashman said Stewart isn't headed for the disabled list and will be available as a backup to Romine the next several days. The Yankees would prefer that Stewart not get in any games unless an emergency necessitates it . . . Cashman didn't give a timetable for Joba Chamberlain (oblique) to pitch in a second rehab game, saying only that he will throw a bullpen session Sunday . . . In Tampa, Alex Rodriguez (hip) played catch and increased his tee-and-toss workload . . . Kevin Youkilis (back) did a little more in the field, taking grounders on the infield dirt after doing so on the grass Wednesday . . . Mark Teixeira (wrist) took batting practice on the field, ran and fielded grounders. He is closing in on his first rehab game, which could come as soon as next week.