The rain, thunder and bolts of lightning around Yankee Stadium Sunday night provided a fitting backdrop to a once-promising Yankees season that seems to have been dampened.
The Yankees suffered their seventh loss in eight games when they fell to the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, in a game that was halted midway through the sixth inning and called just after midnight. The game featured more rain delays (three) than Yankees runs and hits (two) combined.
Yankees hitters went 2-for-16 with a walk and failed to reach second base. They have scored 15 runs in the last eight games and have scored more than four runs in a game once in the last 12.
"It's just kind of a team-wide thing we're going through," manager Joe Girardi said.
Teixeira, prone to slow starts throughout his career, struck out in both at-bats, making it seven strikeouts in nine at-bats. He and Youkilis are a combined 2-for-18 with one RBI and 12 strikeouts.
The Yankees, who are tied for third with the Rays, fell three games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox and a half-game behind the second-place Orioles.
The start of the game was delayed 45 minutes by the threat of rain, which didn't start falling until the sixth. By then Kuroda and the Yankees probably would have liked the opportunity to take a mulligan on this one.
Kuroda has been the Yankees' ace thus far, and his team needed him to be nearly perfect Sunday night, what with their offense giving Buchholz the silent treatment. But Kuroda wasn't up to the task.
Kuroda immediately showed that wear-and-tear in the fifth as his first pitch to Iglesias was a sinker that never dipped. Iglesias, not exactly known for his power, lined the 92-mph pitch into the leftfield stands for his first 2013 homer and a 2-0 lead.
How unlikely was the home run? He had only seven previous homers in 1,224 professional at-bats -- one in 126 in the majors and six in 1,098 in the minors.
On the other hand, Ortiz's track record as a power hitter is excellent, and he gave Boston a 3-0 lead with a rocket of a home run leading off the sixth. With the rain starting to fall, Ortiz launched an 0-and-1 pitch from Kuroda deep into the bleachers in rightfield, a no-doubter from the moment it left his bat.
Ortiz did some styling, admiring the ball as it left the park, but Kuroda said he didn't have a problem with that. "He hit the home run, so . . . ," he said.
Entering the fifth, Kuroda had allowed only five home runs in 712/3 innings, and now he had given up two in a span of six batters and 13 pitches. "Both pitches were bad," he said through an interpreter. "I was trying to minimize the damage, but it didn't turn out that way."
Almost immediately after Ortiz's home run, the rain went from light to torrential. Crew chief Gary Cederstrom called for a delay two batters later with Napoli on first and one out.
When the Yankees returned to the field 37 minutes later, Kuroda didn't join them, replaced by Boone Logan. He got out of the inning quickly, but the rain returned. Four minutes later, the game was in yet another delay, the third of the game. It never resumed.
At one point during the storm, a huge clap of thunder followed by a bolt of lightning sent a tremor through the stadium, startling both the Yankees and Red Sox players on the benches. It also knocked out the satellite feed to the television in Girardi's office.
"That was the loudest and brightest thing I've ever seen," Austin Romine said. "It was daylight there for a second."