Hiroki Kuroda was looking to build off his his previous start, when he tossed 6.2 innings against the Rangers, giving up only 5 hits, 2 runs, and striking out 5. The team he'd be facing, the Orioles, had scored 95 runs so far this season. Fortunately that would be enough to be the top offense in the AL Central, but unfortunately Baltimore is in the AL East, so that 95 runs was worst in the division.
Hiro went on to throw a very good game, giving the Yankees 7 innings of 1 run ball. Although he was only able to strike out 3 batters, Kuroda only gave up 4 hits and a walk. The other two innings played out perfectly, as David Robertson struck out all 3 batters he faced in the 8th inning, while Mariano Rivera gave up a hit in an otherwise flawless 9th for save #5. Most of the time that would be more than enough, as the Yankee bats have averaged 5.62 runs per game, but as you can see it was just enough.
Jason Hammel was able to hold down the Yankee bats, giving Baltimore 6 innings of 2-run ball, striking out 5. Mark Teixeira was the only Yankee to get more than one hit, as he singled twice. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano also contributed singles to the cause, but it was Eric Chavez's 2-run home run in the 2nd inning that led the Bombers to their 13th win of the season, putting them a half game out of first place.
How many more starts will Phil Hughes get, assuming he doesn't open eyes in this one? My guess is not many, unless Phelps does poorly, and Andy Pettitte isn't ready for MLB for a while. Not that I'm rooting against Hughes... not at all. I really wish something would click for him, and he'd be the middle of the rotation starter I thought he could be in 2012.
Phil was better in this one, but he was not quite eye-popping either. He went deeper into this start than he has all season, going 5.2 innings. I actually thought he was going to turn in a quality start, as he had 2 outs with nobody on base, and had only given up 3 runs up to that point. But Phil hit Matt Wieters with a pitch, and Matt eventually scored as Boone Logan couldn't get out of the inning. In fact, the bullpen was not nearly it's dominant self, giving up 3 runs and 7 hits. DJ Mitchell got into the game in the 9th, but things didn't go smoothly as the inning ended with Wieters getting thrown out at 2nd base trying to extend a single. So things could have been worse than they already were.
Curtis Granderson hit a big-time home run in his first at bat of the game in the 1st inning, but that was it. Not "it" for him, but "it" for the team. The Yankees scattered another 6 hits in the game, three of them by Derek Jeter (who brought his average back up to .400). ARod had a couple hits, and Curtis added a single to his daily line, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Bombers to overcome a so-so start from Hughes. The worst part of the offense was the fact that the 4-9 hitters in the lineup were a combined 0-21. That is not a recipe for success.
Oh where, oh where, have the Yankee bats gone?
Jake Arrieta scattered 5 hits (all singles) across 8 innings, followed by Jim Johnson throwing a perfect 9th inning, helping the Orioles beat the Yankees 5-0. Derek Jeter went hitless again, the 3rd time in his last 5 games. ARod was the only Yankee hitter to have 2 hits, while Granderson, Cano, and Ibanez hit the other 3. To add insult to injury, the Yankees didn't draw a single walk in the game, while striking out 10 times. Yep... 10 times! Think I can't make it worse? HA! Not a single Yankee got into scoring position. So I guess I can at least say the Yankees didn't go hitless with RISP. *sigh*
Meanwhile Ivan Nova suffered his first loss since June 3rd of last season. In 6.1 innings of work, Ivan allowed 9 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 4 walks, and struck out 3. Matt Wieters hit a home run in the 4th inning, while Nick Markakis hit a solot shot as well in the 7th. Nova got out of a trouble, as the Os had runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs in the top of the 4th inning, gave up a lead-off double to JJ Hardy in the 5th but go out of it, and in the 6th inning Baltimore had runners on 1st and 2nd base when Endy Chavez hit a screamer that happened to go right into Nunez's glove. Freddy Garcia did have his first appearance of the season out of the bullpen, and threw 2 innings, giving up 2 hits and a walk, but no runs.
The biggest news may have come in the top of the 5th inning, as Eric Chavez suffered from whiplash and a possible concussion while diving to try and stop a JJ Hardy double down the left-field line. It's likely that Chavez will go on the DL, but keep in mind that MLB instituted a 7-day DL for guys that suffer a concussion.
Jake Taylor Award*
Alex Rodriguez - 4/11, 1 BB (yeah, Yankee hitting was that bad this series)
Russell Martin - 0/9, 3 K, 1 BB
Rick Vaughn Award*
Hiroki Kuroda - Game 1: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 K, 1 BB
Ivan Nova - Game 3: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR
@ Royals 5/3 - 5/6
*The awards are named after one of the best baseball movies of all time... Major League.
Jake Taylor Award - Awarded to the most valuable position player. Named after the hard-nose veteran catcher that, despite making the league minimum, was the heart and soul of the 1989 American League East winning Cleveland Indians.
Gentry Award - Awarded to the least valuable position player. Named after the very first man cut from the 1989 Cleveland Indians, #47 Gentry. A man so insignificant he wasn't even given a first name.
Rick Vaughn - Awarded to the best pitcher in the series. This one is, of course, named after the "Wild Thing". The man that made Clu Haywood look silly in the division deciding game.
Kelner Award - Awarded to the worst pitcher in the series. Named after the Opening Day starter for the '89 Indians. Not a good game for Mr. Kelner, as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle famously quipped "thank God" after Kelner left the game. And yet another bad player without a first name.