The Yankees pretty much lost the game in the first inning when Hiroki Kuroda allowed the first three Rays to reach: A Matt Joyce home run, Wil Myers single, and David DeJesus double made it 2-0 before an Evan Longoria sac-fly to plate DeJesus, who advanced to third on his double after a throw home, made it a 3-0 game before the Yankees could even take their first hacks against Matt Moore.
In the first inning, and through the first five innings, the Yankees had opportunities to score, but failed to capitalize each and every time. Walks by Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano? No runs. A Brendan Ryan walk and advancement to second on a wild pitch? No run. An Ichiro Suzuki single and walks by A-Rod and Soriano? No runs. Vernon Wells reaching first base on a strikeout and a Chris Stewart walk (on 13 pitches, by the way)? No runs. Singles by Soriano and Eduardo Nunez? No runs. This was all against Moore, who, obviously, was in trouble all night, but left each inning unscathed. He went those five innings, allowed just three hits, but surrendered six walks and three wild pitches. This would have been much, much more infuriating if this were a playoff game (like the escape acts Doug Fister was able to get out of in Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS and Game 1 of last year's ALCS), or even a regular season game that mattered, but, obviously, it was not.
In between the offensive ineptitude, Kuroda settled down in innings 2-5. He looked like his old self in those four innings, as the only Ray to reach was Evan Longoria on an Eduardo Nunez throwing error in the fourth. However, he reverted back to his first-inning form in the sixth: Myers led off with a walk, Longoria followed with a one-out, ground-rule double, and Ben Zobrist got intentionally walked before James Loney put two more on the board with a double to the right center field gap. Kuroda finished with 5.2 innings, five hits, runs, and strikeouts to go with a pair of walks. He now has pitched to an ugly 6.56 ERA in his last eight starts. This latest rough outing could be it for him as a Yankee depending on a.) if he'll pitch in Houston this weekend, which hasn't been announced yet, or b.) if they re-sign him this winter.
Following Kuroda were relievers Boone Logan, Cesar Cabral, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, and Dellin Betances. Logan, appearing, in his first game since September 6 against the Red Sox, struck out the only batter he faced, Sam Fuld, to clean up the mess Kuroda left behind in the sixth. Cabral followed in the seventh by retiring the only man he faced, Kelly Johnson, on a fly out. Warren went 1.2 innings while allowing a pair of hits and three strikeouts. Shawn Kelley pitched the ninth and allowed a walk and a pair of doubles and runs before departing with two outs. Dellin Betances mercifully got the final out in the ninth on an Evan Longoria fly out.
If you want a silver lining, it was probably Alfonso Soriano. Sori, to go along with a nice diving catch to rob James Loney of a hit in the eighth, went 1-for-2 at the plate with two walks. His night raised his batting line to .257/.301/.494, 113 wRC+ on the season with the Yankees and Cubs combined.
The loss drops the Yankees to 82-75 with, thankfully, only five games to play. Their "tragic number" is now down to one thanks to tonight's loss as well as Cleveland's walk off win, courtesy of old friend Jason Giambi. Phil Hughes (5.07 ERA, 4.52 FIP) will get the ball for what will hopefully be the final time in his Yankee career and he'll oppose David Price (3.43 ERA, 3.07 FIP) in game two.