The Yankees (54-48) defeated the Rangers (56-46) on Wednesday afternoon in Arlington, Texas behind seven shutout innings from Hiroki Kuroda. This was Kuroda’s seventh start this season where has has limited the opposition to zero runs, and it was his third in his last four starts.
The 2-0 win allowed the Yankees to salvage a split of the four-game series in Texas. They also finished the road trip against the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers with a 3-4 record. Three wins and four losses is a lot better than two wins and four losses, as Joe Girardi said in his postgame interview. The catalyst in this win was obviously Kuroda, who is now second in the American League with a 2.51 ERA. Felix Hernandez is first in the America League with a 2.43 ERA.
In fact, the Rangers only had runners in scoring position twice against Kuroda. He was able to work out of trouble in the third and sixth innings as David Murphy was stranded at second in the third and Elvis Andrus was stranded at third in the sixth. Austin Romine, who was three for four and had his first multiple extra base hit game of his career, was critical in preventing a run from scoring in the sixth since he threw out Ian Kinsler trying to steal second.
Based on his ERA and very low WHIP (Walks and Hits divided by Innings Pitched), Kuroda should be in the top three in the CY Young. However, he likely will be closer to fifth or sixth because of his low amount of strikeouts and wins. He is currently fifth in the AL with his 1.04 WHIP. However, his 10 wins puts him in a three-way tie for seventh and his 92 strikeouts are 30th highest in the AL. If Kuroda can keep up his current pace he should finish in the top five of the CY Young along with Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. Above all, Kuroda gives the Yankees a chance to win basically every time he takes the hill.
On offense, the Yankees were led by Romine whose three hits raised his average from .165 to .193. Romine also scored half of the team’s runs. This was a rare offensive outburst by the back-up, an once heralded prospect, because this was only his second multi-hit game of the season out of 27 starts. The California native is definitely more known for his defense.
The other run was scored by All-Star Robinson Cano, who was one for four, which included his 20th double of the season. Eduardo Nunez and Brent Lillibridge both went 1-4 with an RBI to account for all of the runs in the game. Nunez, who has been a much needed addition to the offense since coming of of the disabled list, is 9-29 or .310, with two Runs Batted In and four runs scored since the All-Star break.
The stellar one two punch of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera did not disappoint once again. Robertson, who is on track to replace Rivera as the closer next season, pitched a perfect eighth inning to lower his ERA to 1.96. Rivera, who received a cowboy hat and customized Yankees boots before the game from the Rangers (this was another one of his pre-game gifts as he plays in visiting stadiums for the last time), allowed one hit in the ninth for his 33rd save of the season.
Tampa Bay will now come to the Bronx for a three-game series. The Yankees are currently three games behind the Rays for the Wild Card.