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Kuroda hit hard by Jays in Yanks' loss

Hiroki Kuroda watches as Edwin Encarnacion of the

Hiroki Kuroda watches as Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays rounds the bases after a three-run home run. (May 16, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

TORONTO -- If the home half of each inning consisted of two outs last night, Hiroki Kuroda's outing would have been borderline brilliant.

Conversely, had the Yankees' offense been given four -- or more -- outs in its at-bats against Kyle Drabek, it likely wouldn't have made much difference.

And so it went on a mostly forgettable night as the listless Yankees were blown out of Rogers Centre, 8-1, by the Blue Jays in front of 28,915.

The two primary factors that have kept the Yankees (20-17) from stringing together a significant winning streak this season played significant roles.

They got another poor outing from a starting pitcher, this time Kuroda (3-5), who entered with a 3.56 ERA that ballooned to 4.50 after he allowed seven runs -- six coming with two outs -- and eight hits in five innings. The Blue Jays (20-18) hit three home runs off Kuroda and four overall.

And the offense continued to come up empty with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-8 last night after going 1-for-9 the night before in Baltimore.

"It looked like we were trying to hit a three-run homer with nobody on and that's not how you win ballgames," Russell Martin said.

Joe Girardi didn't fault the approach. "I don't have a problem with the at-bats, We're just not getting it done," he said.

But in the Yankees' eight losses this month, they're 3-for-52 with RISP, which Girardi doesn't find acceptable.

"That's what's killing us," he said. "Guys gotta find a way. You gotta find a way to get a base hit in that situation and see if it can become contagious."

The Yankees mostly flailed and failed against Drabek as the 24-year-old son of 1990 NL Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek ended a four-game losing skid. He kept the Yankees hitless for 3 2/3 innings and scoreless the first five. Mark Teixeira's bad-hop single -- his 1,500th career hit -- past Edwin Encarnacion at first with two outs in the sixth put the Yankees on the board, cutting their deficit at that point to 7-1.

"Everyone tried to approach that guy [Drabek] differently," Teixeira said. "He pitched well. You have to give him credit. He was just good tonight. He was going to win that game without eight runs."

Girardi lifted Kuroda in the sixth after he allowed a leadoff single to J.P. Arencibia, who had already homered and doubled. The 37-year-old's night started well enough, a change of pace for the pitcher. He struck out two in the 1-2-3, 16-pitch first inning, coming in having allowed 10 of his 20 runs during the season in the first.

Things began to unravel in the second, with a bobble by Robinson Cano on a potential double-play ball giving Arencibia a chance to hurt him, which the catcher did, hammering a full-count pitch for his fourth homer of the season and a 2-0 lead.

Kuroda had no such fielding alibi in the third, an inning that started with the righthander retiring Omar Vizquel on a pop-up and leadoff man Kelly Johnson on a grounder. Eric Thames kept the inning going with a double to right and Jose Bautista walked, bringing up Encarnacion. Kuroda fell behind 1-and-0 before throwing a 93-mph sinker that stayed straight and the Blue Jays first baseman subsequently slammed it over the wall in center. The three-run shot made it 5-0.

Kuroda said it's time for him to consider tinkering with his line of attack. "There are a lot of power hitters; you can't relax anywhere in the lineup," he said of the difference in AL and NL lineups. "I have to be more careful . . . I can't be pitching like this. Yes, I probably have to change my approach."


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