Hiroki Kuroda gave up three runs tonight...and the only surprise was that he lost by less than three runs. The Yankees continued their slide into oblivion this evening with a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Coming into this game, you might have found yourself wondering just how in the heck this Yankee lineup planned to score any runs off lefty ace Chris Sale. Well, if you guessed they would score on a two-base wild pitch off an umpire's shoe, then congratulations...you are a witch. They scored their first and only run thanks to a little bit of patience and a whole lot of White Sox defensive incompetence. Following a Brett Gardner walk to lead off the game, Alfonso Soriano hit a tailor-made double play grounder to second, but was ruled safe after Alexei Ramirez's relay throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. With one out and Alex Rodriguez at the plate, Soriano stole second. Sale then threw a pitch right through the wickets of the catcher and off the shoe of the home plate umpire. The ball kicked toward the third-base dugout, and nobody on the White Sox made a play for the ball until Soriano had scampered all the way home from second.
The Yankees nearly added to their lead in the second inning. Gardner walked yet again, and Sale hit Rodriquez to bring up Robinson Cano with two on and two out. Cano slapped a single to left field, but Alex Rios fired a bullet to catcher Josh Phegley, who tagged Gardner for the third out...except replays showed Gardner's foot on home plate before the tag. Tough break for the Yankees...but hey, I'm sure they'll score plenty of runs to make up for it, right? RIGHT?
The White Sox would draw even in the fourth. Adam Dunn drew a walk, then advanced to second on a passed ball by catcher Austin Romine. With two outs, Conor Gillaspie plated Dunn with a single to right. Kuroda has been golden this year, but he just couldn't quite put away a weak hitter with two outs.
The Yankees had a chance to retake the lead in the top of the fifth. Romine led off with a single, Gardner struck out after the now-customary bunt attempt, and Soriano moved Romine to second with a base hit of his own. A-Rod lined out hard to center, and Cano worked a walk, setting the stage for Vernon Wells to play the hero with the bases loaded and two outs. Long-time Vern watchers can probably guess what happened next: Wells grounded out on the first pitch, a fastball at least five inches off the plate. Sale struggled with his control on the evening - walking four - and a more disciplined team might have been able to make him pay for it.
The White Sox would take the lead thanks to a ground ball single past a diving third baseman, a Baltimore chop over the head of the first basemen, a ground out to first, and ground ball past the bag at third which Jayson Nix nearly turned into an inning-ending double play. If Kuroda didn't have bad luck this year, he'd have no luck at all. They would add another run in the seventh when Alejandro De Aza lined a two-out RBI double over the head of Vernon Wells, capping off an impressive eight-pitch at bat.
Brett Gardner tried making a game of it in the ninth, driving in pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki with a two-out single. Soriano stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run, but struck out on just three pitches.
Kuroda wasn't quite his usual, dominant self in this game, but good God, can this offense pick him up just one time this year? The sad fact of this team over the past month is that they have but two above-average starting pitchers - Kuroda and Ivan Nova - and the offense somehow scores even fewer runs for them than they do for the other three jokers in the rotation.
Mom Quote of the Night:
Upon realizing Jayson Nix's name is spelled with a 'y':
"You know, I read somewhere that if the parents spell their kids' names weird, it affects them mentally. Maybe that's what's wrong with Jayson Nix."
Someone other than Kuroda will start tomorrow, which mean the Yankees have even less of a chance of winning that game. Please, take the poll at the bottom, and try not to break anything valuable.