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Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 0

5/17/2013

What it means: A quarter of the way through the season, Hiroki Kuroda is pitching like a Cy Young Award contender.

On the same day that 40-year-old Andy Pettitte landed on the disabled list again, the 38-year-old Kuroda was nearly perfect against the Blue Jays, pitching the Yankees to a 5-0 win in the Bronx.

The Yankees avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season and improve to 26-16. They remain in first place in the American League East, 1½ games ahead of the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays, who had won four in a row, drop to 17-25, remaining in last place in the division.

On the mound: Kuroda entered the game with great numbers -- a 5-2 record and a 2.31 ERA. But he has struggled in the early innings at times, and when Melky Cabrera led off the game with a sharp double to right field, you wondered if that would be the case again.

Instead, Kuroda retired 18 of the next 19 batters he faced, not allowing another hit until Edwin Encarnacion's one-out single in the seventh. The only Toronto baserunner in between was Munenori Kawasaki, who walked with one out in the third but was then picked off.

Kuroda hurled eight shutout innings, allowing just those two hits, with five strikeouts and the one walk. He's now 6-2, and his ERA has dropped to 1.99 -- fourth-best in the American League.

Preston Claiborne finished the game off with a scoreless ninth.

At the plate: The Yankees had just eight hits, but that was plenty, thanks to Kuroda.

Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the first with a triple, and scored on a Robinson Cano groundout, giving the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.

The Yanks' second run came in the fifth. David Adams led off with a single, went to second on an Austin Romine single, advanced to third on a Gardner walk, and came home on a Jayson Nix sacrifice fly.

Adams scored the Yankees' third run as well. He doubled to lead off the seventh, went to third on a bunt single by Ichiro Suzuki, and scored on a double by Romine -- which knocked Toronto starter Mark Buehrle out of the game. The Yanks tacked on two more runs in the frame, on a single by Gardner and another sac fly by Nix.

Adams now has four hits in his first three games since being called up from Triple-A. He's the first Yankee to hit safely in each of his first three major league games since Shelley Duncan in 2007.

Romine, catching for the injured Chris Stewart, had been just 1-for-13 on the season, but was 2-for-3 on the night.

What's next: The middle game of this three-game series. David Phelps (1-2, 4.33) will start for the Yankees, opposed by Brandon Morrow (1-2, 4.69), first pitch at 1:05 p.m.