This game started out looking like it would be a close game, but it eventually turned into a one-sided affair. Kuroda did not have much going for him in the beginning. He still got the job done, but he let two on in the first, three on in the second and two on in the third until he had his first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth and finally got going by the sixth and seventh innings. The game looked to be another Yankee game with a struggling starting pitcher, but after the third Kuroda retired 11 of the next 12 batters.
The Yankees got on the board quickly when, in the bottom of the first, Brett Gardner walked then stole second base for his second steal of the year. Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield hit and advanced on a Robinson Cano ground out to put runners on second and third. Travis Hafner hit a line drive to left field that was caught on a short hop and was ruled a hit to make the score 1-0.
In the top of the third Ichiro was called out on strikes, but the ball got away from the catcher and he was able to make it safely to first base. From there he stole second and Hafner hit a single through the shift to make it 2-0.
Ichiro started another Yankee rally in the fifth inning when he hit another infield single and Cano hit a ball up the middle. They both moved up on a wild pitch, forcing the Astros to issue a walk to Hafner in order to get to Brennan Boesch. For the second at bat in a row Boesch hit a ground ball that resulted in a force out at second base. Thankfully, he beat out the double play to ensure that a run scored. Jayson Nix hit a bullet to the shortstop, who was unable to handle it and the second run of the inning scored to make it 4-0. Only one hit in that inning made it out of the infield.
The Astros finally scored in the eighth inning with David Robertson in and two outs already recorded, Carlos Pena singled through the shift and Chris Carter deposited a long fly ball into the right field seats to make it 4-2.
The Yankees answered right back as Lyle Overbay hit a home run of his own. Eduardo Nunez stretched a single into a double for the second time of the evening, even against Rick Ankiel's cannon of an arm, and Chris Stewart singled him in. Ichiro singled and Travis Hafner blooped a ball into shallow left field and the game was now 7-2 and Mariano Rivera was no longer needed after warming up.
Just kidding, he was totally needed. Shawn Kelley came in and gave up a single to Matt Dominguez, Robbie Grossman singled and Jose Altuve doubled to bring in two runs, make it a 7-4 game, and force Mo into the game. He completed the one-batter save with relative ease to earn his 10th of the month.
Despite control issues, Kuroda ended up with a good line in the end; no runs on four hits, four walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Robertson gave up two runs on two hits, while collecting two strikeouts in one inning, Kelley was beaten up by giving up two runs on three hits, while collecting one strikeout in only 0.2 innings. Rivera struck out the only batter he faced.
Everyone got on base tonight, except for Brennan Boesch and his pinch hitter, Vernon Wells. Ichiro, Hafner and Nunez all had three hits, Cano and Stewart had two, and Nix and Overbay each had one for a grand total of 15 hits.