Postgame notes: One bad inning

June, 8, 2013
SEATTLE -- Hiroki Kuroda pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings Friday night, allowing just two hits and a walk. Unfortunately, he also pitched another inning bad enough to cost the Yankees a game.

[+] EnlargeHiroki Kuroda
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesHiroki Kuroda's one poor inning cost him against the Mariners.
That was the fourth inning, in which Kuroda created his own problems, allowing a two-out double followed by a pair of walks and a two-RBI single, and also suffered a bad break when Endy Chavez's grounder up the middle, which might have ended the damage right there, glanced off second base and caromed into the outfield, keeping the inning alive so Jason Bay could single in two more and complete the scoring in the Mariners' 4-1 win at Safeco Field.

"In that inning, nothing worked," said catcher Chris Stewart. "He just lost the feel for all his pitches. He started yanking his slider. He didn’t really know where his fastball was gonna go. We tried everything. It didn’t seem like he could figure anything out at that point."

The three walks in total by Kuroda were uncharacteristic -- until tonight's first inning, when he walked Bay with one out, Kuroda had not walked a batter since May 17, a stretch of three starts and 20-plus innings. "His command is usually really good, but he was having a hard time with his slider tonight," Joe Girardi said.

The loss dropped Kuroda to 6-5. The Yankees' most reliable starter for the first six weeks of the season has now lost his last three decisions and has not won since May 17.

-- Give credit to Jeremy Bonderman, who had started just one game in nearly three years before tonight following three surgeries, including Tommy John and two operations for thoracic outlet syndrome. Bonderman got lit up on June 2 for seven runs in less than five innings, but after allowing a first-inning run on a double by Brett Gardner and two groundouts, shut the Yankees down for the next five innings to earn his first win since Sept. 8, 2010.

"It seemed like every single pitch was doing something different," Stewart said. "He kept us off balance and he kept us guessing and unfortunately we couldn’t string good at-bats together. We didn’t take him for granted, that’s for sure. He just pitched well enough to get a win today."

-- Gardner's hit extended his modest hit streak to five games. And he has hit in 13 of his last 15 games, going 16-for-53 (.302) over that stretch with 3 HRs, 3 2Bs, a 3B and 10 RBIs.

-- Ichiro Suzuki's second-inning single stretched his hitting streak to eight games.

-- Preston Claiborne had another scoreless outing, working 1 2/3 innings in relief of Kuroda and allowing just one hit. Claiborne has allowed just one run in 18 1/3 innings this season, for a microscopic ERA of 0.49.

-- The Yankees' starting lineup carried five players hitting below .250 -- Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis at .247, Vernon Wells at .236, Mark Teixeira at .192 and Reid Brignac at .160. The regular with the highest batting average on the team, Robinson Cano, is hitting just .276.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146