Kuroda bests former team

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
6:52
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Before he took the mound Wednesday, Hiroki Kuroda let himself reminisce about his time with the Dodgers, the team he spent his first four major league seasons with.

"There were a lot [of] former teammates on that team," Kuroda said. "But once the game started, I didn't really think about it. I was just concentrated on getting outs."

Facing his former team for the first time, Kuroda picked up the win as he tossed 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball in the Yankees 6-4 win. Kuroda snapped a three-game losing streak as he improved to 7-5. Kuroda pitched to three former teammates in Andre Ethier, Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis.

"I thought he threw the ball really well today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "As much as it's not a lot of his teammates [on the Dodgers], I'm sure with the matchup today he felt a little bit of something. He pitched extremely well."

After a stellar career in Japan, Kuroda pitched for the Dodgers from 2008-11, going 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA. Since joining the Yankees in 2012, Kuroda has actually fared better as Wednesday's win now has him at 23-16 with a 3.16 ERA during his two seasons in the Bronx.

The veteran held the Dodgers scoreless through six on Wednesday but ran into trouble in the seventh as he allowed a pair of runs. A run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. knocked him out of the game with the Yankees ahead 3-2, but the Yankees bullpen held on. Kuroda gave up eight hits and struck out two.

"Today my split and slider weren't really good," Kuroda said. "I would call it a tough outing."

IMPRESSED BY PUIG: The Yankees were impressed by Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, who went 2-for-5 in the opener. Puig had great at-bats all afternoon and showcased his speed.

"Hits the ball hard, I can tell you that," Girardi said. "Got a very good arm and is aggressive. He's a good looking young player."

In the first and eighth innings, Puig hit balls to shallow center and tried to turn both into doubles. In the first, Brett Gardner was able to throw him out at second, but Puig beat Gardner's throw in the eighth and was rewarded with a hard-earned double. He struck out to end the game against Mariano Rivera.

In the field, Puig nearly had the play of the day as he nearly threw out Yankees designated hitter Thomas Neal at first on a liner to right field.

"Very interesting player. I think he has a lot of impact," Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki said. "You saw him trying to throw a guy out at first and running to second on the single up the middle. Definitely somebody that has impact."

STATUS OF THE PEN: Mariano Rivera and David Robertson both said they are available for the second game after throwing in the day game. Robertson threw 2/3 innings on 14 pitches, while Rivera tossed a perfect ninth to pick up his 25th save on just 10 pitches.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146