Kuroda cruises to seven-inning shutout
July, 18, 2012
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
Debby Wong/US PresswireA 51-minute delay didn't stop Hiroki Kuroda on Wednesday.The Yankees handed Hiroki Kuroda a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning -- and the 37-year-old Japanese righty did the rest.
Kuroda cruised en route to a seven-inning complete-game shutout -- the third complete-game shutout of his career -- allowing just four hits in the Yankees’ 6-0 rain-shortened victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
“When you get a lot of run support you can be really aggressive and try to go inside on righties, and that’s what I did today,” Kuroda said.
Kuroda (9-7), who walked none and struck out five, has not lost since June 19 and is 6-1 in his past seven decisions. He had given up a combined 12 runs in his previous two starts, so this was an impressive turnaround performance.
“I tried to not think about my last two outings as much as possible. I try not to dwell on it,” Kuroda said. “I just wanted to focus on today’s game.”
On Wednesday afternoon, he had to wait out a 51-minute lightning delay before taking the hill. But from the first inning on, he had great command of his splitter and slider.
“I thought he located his fastball extremely well, and he kept away from the first guy getting on, which has plagued him the last couple starts,” manager Joe Girardi said.
The Blue Jays connected for one extra-base hit off Kuroda -- J.P. Arencibia's double leading off the fifth. Toronto never got a runner past second against him and had two runners on base in the same inning just once.
In four daytime starts, Kuroda has held opponents scoreless in 30 innings pitched.