Hiroki Kuroda tries to win his fourth straight decision on Tuesday when the New York Yankees continue their three-game series with the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium.
Kuroda gave up three runs over the first two innings to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, but settled down from there, tossing four scoreless frames after that to get the win and improve to 3-1 on the year to go along with a 2.79 ERA.
"All I thought was, 'Just hang in there, pitch by pitch, and [you'll] be able to overcome,'" Kuroda said through an interpreter. "Considering how it started, I think I was able to put together a decent outing."
Kuroda's success may continue on Tuesday, as he owns a perfect 3-0 lifetime mark against the Astros with a 2.79 ERA in seven starts.
Houston, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Philip Humber, who has lost all five of his starts this season. Humber's most recent setback came on Thursday in Boston, where the Red Sox torched him for seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings.
Over his last two starts Humber has allowed 15 runs and 18 hits in five innings and has seen his ERA rise more than five runs to 7.99.
"It's pathetic," he said. "I didn't give our team a chance to win the game before and definitely not this time. I'm definitely not doing my job right now."
Humber has split his two starts versus the Yankees, while pitching to a 2.70 ERA.
Humber cab only hope for the same type of support Lucas Harrell received in the opener, as Carlos Corporan went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBI to help Houston to a 9-1 shellacking.
Harrell (3-2) went 6 1/3 solid innings and Houston's four-game overall slide, while ending a string of four straight Yankee wins, by yielding just one run and scattering eight hits. Fourteen of the 19 outs the right-hander recorded came on the ground.
He was helped out by an offense that pounded out 17 hits and rocked Andy Pettitte (3-2) for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Brandon Barnes finished 3-for-5 with three RBI in the rout, with Carlos Pena contributing a run-scoring single as part of a 2-for-5 night.
"I've seen Andy since 1996, and I don't know if I've ever seen him not have his slider," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Jose Altuve, Chris Carter and Brandon Laird also had two hits for Houston, which went 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"You're just waiting for it to happen night in and night out and be consistent. That's why we stay positive, because we know it's in there," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano each collected a pair of hits for New York, with Wells driving in the Yankees' lone run with a sixth-inning single.
Houston has beaten the Yankees just one time in nine meetings, including a 1-5 mark in the Bronx. Houston's only win over the Yankees was a six-pitcher no- hitter at the old Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2003.