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Saturday, April 12, 2014
Kuroda, Warren, Kelley pitch in vs. BoSox

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- Brian McCann was the star on Saturday afternoon, but he wasn’t the only Yankees hero.

Hiroki Kuroda gutted through 6 1/3 innings despite admittedly not having his best stuff, and was rewarded with his second victory of the season.

"I didn’t have my breaking ball today," Kuroda said, through a translator. "I was just trying to get big outs."

Hiroki Kuroda
Far from his best, Hiroki Kuroda managed to beat the Red Sox on Saturday.
Kuroda gave up back-to-back singles in the first inning and needed 21 pitches to wiggle out of trouble. Then Boston's A.J. Pierzynski smacked a 90 mph sinker into the second deck in right field in the second inning, tying the game at 2.

But Kuroda managed to keep the Red Sox at bay over the next four frames. He had runners on base in every inning but the third, but did not allow another run to score until the seventh.

A lead-off walk by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a one-out walk by Daniel Nava prompted Yankees manager Joe Girardi to go to the bullpen. Both scored on a single by Mike Carp off reliever Matt Thornton, but the runs were charged to Kuroda.

"I wish I could have completed that inning," Kuroda said. "Even though I got the win, because I couldn’t finish that inning I feel a little frustrated."

His final line -- four runs on six hits, with five strikeouts and three walks -- wasn't especially pretty, but it was good enough on a day the Yankees hit five home runs. Kuroda is now 2-1 on the season, with a 3.86 ERA.

The back end: Thornton gave up that two-run single in the seventh, but fellow relievers Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley both looked sharp Saturday.

Warren struck out a pair of batters in a 1-2-3 eighth inning. He also pitched a scoreless eighth Friday, and hasn't allowed a run in six relief appearances this year.

Kelley retired the side in order in the ninth, earning his second save of the season, as he continues to fill in for injured closer David Robertson. He bounced back from his previous outing three days ago, when he gave up two runs in the top of the ninth in a tie game against the Orioles and took the loss.

"You always want to get back out there after one doesn’t go your way," Kelley said. "It was nice to get back out there and finish off the win."

Kelley did make an adjustment. "I think I used my fastball a little bit better," he said. "I got a little slider-happy the other night. I got back to using my fastball and setting up the slider."

Beltran
Beltran
Deep thoughts: McCann hit two homers Saturday, but Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson all hit one out of the park as well.

For Johnson, it was his third of the season. For Soriano, it was his third, and second in two games.

For Beltran, it was his second, and No. 360 for his career. The 36-year-old moved into a tie for 79th place on the all-time home runs list with Gary Gaetti, just one behind Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio.

Through 12 games, Beltran is now batting .268 with two home runs and six RBIs. Six of his 11 hits have come in the past four games.

"I feel good at the plate," Beltran said. "From the left side actually, I feel like my swing is there. On the right side, I feel like I'm a little bit in between. But that's what happens when you're a switch-hitter, it's hard to keep both sides sharp."

The Yankees will face a left-hander, Felix Doubront, in the series finale Sunday night.

Said Beltran, "Hopefully tomorrow I can find something to get me going."