Signs of life from the Yankee offense and some interesting defense on the part of Ronald Belisario helped the Yankees sustain a late-game rally by the Dodgers to take Game One of today's doubleheader. Hiroki Kuroda pitched 6.2 strong innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits. He worked himself in to trouble in the fourth inning with runners on second and third with no one out, but snagged a liner and threw to third to get the runner and worked out of the jam unscathed. The Dodgers finally got on the board against Kuroda in the seventh inning via a sac fly and a pinch-hit single by former Yankee Jerry Hairston Jr.
Preston Claiborne came on for the seventh inning, but managed to give up a two-run home run to Hanley Ramriez and record only one out before he was pulled for David Robertson, who couldn't throw a strike to save his life. Ten of Robertson's first eleven pitches missed the strike zone, but he worked out of further damage, stranding his two runners on base. Mariano Rivera came on for the save, struck out two, and that was that.
Ichiro Suzuki had possibly his best game of the season so far with two singles and a home run, driving in half of the Yankees' runs. He also played exceptional defense in the outfield, once jumping to take extra bases away easily. Lyle Overbay doubled in the second inning to drive in the first runs of the afternoon, and Robinson Cano reached base four times – twice on errors, once on a single, and once on an intentional walk.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, Vernon Wells struck out on a ball in the dirt to drop to 9 for his last 83 at-bats. Two innings later, reliever Belisario would help Wells atone for his previous failure by botching a popup that landed just in front of home plate that allowed Wells to reach base and then winging the ball into the outfield. Belisario was charged with two errors on the play, and then proceeded to hit Thomas Neal on the top of the shoulder in the following at-bat. It was ugly, and something you might have expected these Yankees to pull off instead of coming up on the benefitting side of things, but hey. Things got a little tense at the end, but the pitching managed to hang on to the lead the offense gave them.
The Yankees and Dodgers will play again tonight at 7:05 pm with Phil Hughes facing Chris Capuano fresh off the Disabled List. Zoilo Almonte is expected to start the game for his major league debut.