Kuroda exits early, Red Sox hold off Yanks

04/03/2013 11:02 PM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Hiroki Kuroda took a line drive off his hand that forced him from the game in the second.(AP)
The Yankees dodged a bullet with the news after the 7-4 loss that Hiroki Kuroda's middle finger injury was just a bruise. Already saddled with major injuries to position players and pitchers alike, the team could ill afford to deal with the loss of one of the most important pieces to this team's chances of contending in 2013.

Kuroda, who gave up one run in the first inning, came back out for the second to try and keep the Red Sox' 1-0 lead at bay. Shane Victorino then thrashed a line drive right up the middle striking Kuroda in the middle finger of his pitching hand. The game was delayed to see if Kuroda could stay in the game, which he did. However, he was not the same after that. He did record another out, but he also hit two batters and walked one before being pulled from the game.

"During the game, I thought I was going to continue to pitch, but against the lefties, I wasn't able to make that pitch. I felt like I couldn't go anymore," Kuroda said after the game. When asked if he had an issue with gripping the ball he said, "I wasn't able to put my strength on the ball."

X-rays did come back negative, however, there was a question of whether he would be able to make his next start.

"He's ok, he's just got a bruised middle finger," Joe Girardi said after the game. "We'll go day-by day and see where he's at."

"No swelling," Kuroda said after the game. "The scan, the result was good, so we'll see how it goes and talk to the Dr. about the next outing."

Cody Eppley entered the game and immediately got out of the jam by inducing a double play that ended the threat and kept the deficit to just two runs. The concern, however, was with the health of their frontline starter who was sidelined for the night.

Eppley came back out for the third inning and even though he recorded two outs in the first three batters he faced, the bottom fell out quickly. Much like the four-spot that the Yankees gave up to the Red Sox in the second inning on Opening Day, Eppley's poor performance led to another four-run outburst that devastated the Yankees and gave the Red Sox a 6-0 lead.

The Yankees then turned to Adam Warren, who did exactly what a long man needs to do. He did give up two inherited runners that were charged to Eppley, but he also kept the Yankees in the game and gave them length with the latter being of extreme importance. By not taxing the bullpen, the Yankees, even though they lost the game, could take that as a win.

Warren went 5.1 innings, allowing five hits, one earned run, walking just one and striking out four and he did this in 86 pitches. Now the Yankees, who have one more with the Red Sox on Thursday night before traveling immediately to Detroit to take on the Tigers at 1:00 P.M. on Friday, don't have to worry that they burned through their entire staff.

"That's kind of what I figured my job would be," Warren said. "Try to eat some innings and happy to do that. I felt like I was attacking the zone. I was hoping I could go as long as possible."

By Warren keeping them in the game, the Yankees added a run in the fourth on the first home run by a Yankee this season. Travis Hafner smacked his first home run as a Yankee to make the game 6-1. The Red Sox added another run in the sixth, but once again it was a new Bomber to make the game close in the eighth.

Vernon Wells crushed a three-run home run to bring the Bombers within three, but that's as close as they would get.

The 7-4 outcome is not indicative of the dominance the Red Sox have held over the Yankees these first two games. The Bombers have been outscored 15-5, with the Sox boasting a .329 average (26-79), taking 11 walks in 18 innings and seemingly shutting down the Yankees offense with tremendous starting pitching from both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

This also marks the first time a Red Sox team has come into Yankee Stadium and won the first two games of the season since 1935 and the first time that they start a season 2-0 since 1999.

The season is still young for the Yankees, but they are going to need a big performance and timely hitting on Thursday night to avoid going 0-3 before their very important road trip against the Tigers and Indians. comments