Hiroki Kuroda made one bad pitch, and that was the difference in tonight's game as the Cleveland Indians broke their nine-game losing streak with a victory against the New York Yankees.A hit by pitch and a walk in the first inning was followed by a three-run homer from Indians center fielder Michael Brantley on a sinker that did not sink very much. The score was 3-0, and even though Kuroda allowed just three hits, a walk, and another hit by pitch for the rest of the game, the homer held up as the Yankees fell 3-1. Kuroda pitched all eight innings for the complete game and struck out six, but as has often been in the case this year, the offense simply did not give him any run support. The Yankees had an opportunity to gain a game on the Rays, who fell to Oakland 4-2, but the lead remained at 3.5 games. The Orioles beat the Blue Jays 8-2 to draw within four games of the Yankees.
Justin Masterson has not pitched nearly as well this year as he did in 2011, but he was able to hold the Yankees to one run in 6.1 innings. The Yankees left 15 men on base in the game, which is just admirable RISPfail. Mark Teixeira struck out after Robinson Cano's two-out double in the fourth. Eric Chavez and Russell Martin had one-out singles in the fifth, but Raul Ibanez bounced back to mound and Ichiro Suzuki flew out to center. In their greatest opportunity of the night, the Yankees loaded the bases with no one out in the sixth, but only got one run out of it on a Teixeira sacrifice fly. With the bases still loaded after a walk to Curtis Granderson, Chavez lined out to third base, and Martin flew out to right field as Shin-Soo Choo made a nice running catch. The Yankees loaded the bases yet again in the seventh with two outs, but Teixeira popped up against reliever Vinnie Pestano. This game was really a joy to watch.
Tribe closer Chris Perez ended the disaster with a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts. It was a tough loss for Kuroda to take since he pitched admirably after early struggles. The Yankees send Freddy Garcia to the hill tomorrow to win the series against former to-be 2010 NL Cy Young winner Ubaldo Jimenez.
Flying Falcor of the Day goes to Hiroki Kuroda (8 IP, CG, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K).
Kangaroo Kick of the Day goes to Raul Ibanez (0-4, 2 K, 2 LOB).
(Teixiera left four runners on, but he did have a sac fly to bail him out. Chavez also left four runners on, but he at least threw in a hit. So Ibanez gets the dis-honor!)