Kuroda, Tanaka dominate in Yanks' win over Marlins

The two right-handers combine for the shutout as New York tops Miami
03/28/2014 10:37 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Masahiro Tanaka finished his outing with 10 strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work.(AP)
In the end, it didn't matter that Miami Marlins' pitching took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Yankees on Friday night -- because Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka were, in a word, unstoppable.

The Japanese right-handers combined for 14 strikeouts over nine shutout innings at Steinbrenner Field, as the Yankees used an early series of Marlins miscues and a late offensive outburst to pick up a 3-0 win in their penultimate Grapefruit League game.

The Marlins were looking for their second no-no against the Bombers this spring, but after Miami pitchers retired nine in a row to start the game, some unforced errors in the fourth inning actually gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish.

Brett Gardner was the catalyst, reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Donavon Solano to lead off the fourth and summarily stealing second base. Derek Jeter followed with a walk, and after Carlos Beltran struck out, Gardner stole third, with Jeter advancing to second because Casey McGehee could not come up with Saltalamacchia's throw.

Mark Teixeira then walked to load the bases, and Brian McCann followed with a groundout to first that scored Gardner to make it 1-0. Carlos Marmol got Alfonso Soriano to ground out to end the inning and escape further damage, but just that lone unearned run would be enough for Yankees' pitching. 

Kuroda, the starter, allowed just three hits in three innings and struck out four, all of which came in big spots. The veteran righty fanned the side in the first after allowing a leadoff single to Christian Yelich. In the second, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a leadoff double but was stranded on third, with Kuroda getting two harmless groundouts before striking out Marcell Ozuna to end the inning.

Tanaka then followed and finished out the game in even more impressive fashion, striking out 10 Marlins while allowing just three hits.

The Yankees finally broke up the Marlins' no-hitter in the eighth, with Kelly Johnson's leadoff double sparking a two-run inning. After Johnson's double, pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez advanced to third on a wild pitch, and Brian Roberts followed with a single to right to make it 2-0. Antoan Richardson pinch-ran for Roberts, and after he stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, Yangervis Solarte singled him home to push the score to 3-0.

Solarte tried to keep up the aggression on the base paths, but he was thrown out trying to steal second for the second out, and Dean Anna then flew out to end the inning.

Miami would mount its lone rally of the game against Tanaka in the ninth, but even that came in somewhat-fortuitous fashion. Matt Angle led off the inning with a bunt single and Saltalamacchia later reached on an error by second baseman Eduardo Nunez to put two on with one out, but Tanaka recovered to get two groundouts to complete the shutout.

With the win, the Yankees improve to 17-12-2 in the Grapefruit League and 18-12-2 on the spring overall. Saturday marks their spring finale, with the Marlins sticking around in Tampa for a 1:05 p.m. start. Ivan Nova will be on the mound for that game, and full coverage begins at 1 p.m. on YES.

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