Bronx, NY—After losing the last three contests and four of the last five, the Yankees achieved a necessary win on Wednesday night in the second game of a three game set against the Boston Red Sox.
Every victory is crucial for the New Yorkers to prevent their elimination from qualifying for the 2014 playoffs. The importance of attaining as many wins as possible in the final month of the season was stated by the batting hero of Wednesday’s game, Brian McCann, “We have one month to turn it on and we plan to do that, win every game we can.”
Hiroki Kuroda, the most consistent of Yankees pitchers this season, went into the double figure win column (10) with his third consecutive positive decision.
The 39 year-old threw 95 pitches in seven complete innings. His control was sharp as he threw 73 strikes. In his 28 previous starts this year, he never threw more than 72 in each contest.
Kuroda dominated the Boston batters early in the game, retiring 12 of the first 13. The only run the Japanese native yielded occurred in the sixth frame.
With one out, he hit Jamie Weeks, the ninth batter in the Red Sox, lineup, with a pitch in the back of the knee. Rookie Brock Holt, the only player in the majors who has played every position in the field except pitcher and catcher, doubled Weeks home. Weeks did not appear seriously injured as he rounded the bases with full speed.
Kuroda only allowed four hits and on hit batter. He fanned eight, tied for his high this season, and did not issue a walk. This was only the fourth game in Kuroda’s major league career that he pitched seven innings while striking out eight and not walking a batter. It was the fifth straight game that he did not give up a homer
Yankee skipper Joe Girardi praised his performance, “I thought his sinker and his slider were his two best pitches. He kept it in the ballpark. He’s a real good pitcher.”
Kuroda described his game plan at this stage in the season, “From now on, every game counts. Whenever I get on the mound, I want to give my team a chance to win.”
Catcher Brian McCann was an important contributor behind the plate and at bat. As catcher, Girardi, a former catcher, remarked, “He has a very good idea of what the pitchers’ stuff is and how to use it to get hitters out.” Kuroda agreed with his manager’s opinion, “I’m really confident with him.”
McCann’s four hits in the game tied his career single game high for the 11th time. He knocked in the winning run with a two-run homer in the second. He led-off with a single in the fifth. He singled again in the following frame, and drove in the final Yankees run in the seventh with a single.
Chris Capuano, Yankees, and Brandon Workman, Red Sox, are scheduled to start the rubber game on Thursday night.