NEW YORK (AP) — Hiroki Kuroda pitched a five-hitter for his fifth major league shutout and Brett Gardner hit his first home run off a left-handed pitcher since July 2010, leading the New York Yankees over the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Sunday night.
Kuroda (2-1) struck out four and walked none, lifting the Yankees back over .500 at 6-5.
Kuroda’s eighth inning ended with a snappy double play started by shortstop Jayson Nix, who ranged far to his left to scoop up Nate McLouth’s grounder up the middle, and flipped to Robinson Cano covering the bag for a 6-4-3 double play.
Baltimore finally got a runner to second base with two outs in the ninth inning when Adam Jones’ groundout advanced Nick Markakis. Kuroda struck out Chris Davis to end it.
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen (0-2) matched him until the fifth. Brennan Boesch led off with a single and scored on Nix’s sacrifice fly, and Gardner hit a drive high off the right-field foul pole. Gardner had gone 178 at-bats without a home run off a lefty — 198 including the postseason — since connecting off Toronto’s Ricky Romero on July 3, 2010.
A prototypical leadoff hitter with speed and a good on-base percentage, Gardner wasn’t always a fixture atop the Yankees’ lineup — especially against left-handed starters. This season, he’s led off in all 11 games.
Chen allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. dropping to 0-6 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 starts since winning Aug. 19 at Detroit. He’s winless in three start this season, though in his previous outing he held Boston to two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss.
NOTES: Chen was the only Orioles pitcher who made more than 20 starts last season, his first in the major leagues. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte is expected to make his next start Friday at Toronto after his turn in the rotation was pushed back. The Yankees had the 40-year-old in line to start Sunday but he experienced back spasms Thursday night, initially leading the team to push his outing back to Tuesday or Wednesday. Ivan Nova is set to start Tuesday, followed by CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, who was ineffective in his last start. … Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that OF-INF Conor Jackson has decided to retire. The 30-year-old Jackson had been the Orioles’ last player cut in spring training. … It was a breezy 51 degrees when the game started. … The Yankees have 18 homers in 11 games this season.
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