Published May 08, 2013
DENVER – Hiroki Kuroda's payoff pitch wasn't quite where he wanted it. The location suited Carlos Gonzalez just fine.
Jorge De La Rosa pitched six scoreless innings in a steady rain to outduel Kuroda and Gonzales connected for his seventh homer in the Colorado Rockies' 2-0 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Josh Rutledge was aboard with a two-out single in the sixth when Kuroda went to a full count on Gonzalez.
"There was also a part of me that I didn't want to walk him in that situation so I guess I went to challenge him with my fastball," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "I was aiming up and in with the fastball but it kind of got into the lower part of the plate."
Gonzalez jumped on it, driving the ball over the fence into the right field bullpen to break up the scoreless tie.
That was just about the only mistake Kuroda made in a seven-inning outing. He struck out three and walked one, but the Yankees lost their fifth straight game at Coors Field, dating to an interleague series in 2002. They were swept in a three-game set in 2007 in their last trip to Denver's downtown ballpark.
"Kuroda threw the ball well," the Yankees' Vernon Wells said. "We just couldn't do anything to support him."
Added Yankees manager Joe Girardi: "He pitched well enough to win, that's for sure."
Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton followed with hard singles to put runners at the corners for rookie Nolan Arenado. Kuroda's wild pitch sent Helton to second, but Cuddyer had to hold up when the ball caromed off the backstop and back to catcher Chris Stewart.
Kuroda (4-2) got Arenado to line out to right to end the inning.
In his first loss since April 3 against Boston, Kuroda allowed just two earned runs. He fell to 1-6 against Colorado in 11 career starts.
"There's nothing specific I can point my finger at," Kuroda said of his difficult history against Colorado. "Obviously, they have a great lineup. And this stadium has the tendency to allow for some big innings."
De La Rosa (3-3) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out a pair in improving to 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
Beginning a stretch in which they'll play 26 of 40 games on the road, the Yankees didn't bring a lot of pop to the plate. They managed just three singles off De La Rosa. Matt Belisle didn't allow a hit in the seventh, Rex Brothers pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and closer Rafael Betancourt gave up a leadoff infield single to Jayson Nix in the ninth before getting the next three batters — two of them on strikeouts — for his ninth save in as many tries.
The Yankees stranded three runners at third base.
"(De La Rosa) didn't really give us any easy RBI opportunities," Wells said, noting there were two outs each time the Yankees got a runner to third. "When he did find himself in trouble, he made pitches, so give him credit."
Both teams left a runner there in the third inning. Ichiro Suzuki singled and stole two bases, but Nix was caught looking at strike three. Jonathan Herrera, starting in place of Troy Tulowitzki (leg), doubled in the bottom half and advanced on a groundout before Rutledge — who singled in his other three at-bats — grounded out to short.
In the fifth, Stewart reached third, but he, too, was stranded, when first baseman Todd Helton scooped the throw from third baseman Arenado to nab Suzuki for the third out.
Rain began falling in the fourth inning and a message on the scoreboard warned: "All fans in the upper deck, please leave the seating area, move under cover due to lightning in the area." But the game went on.
Tulowitzki was held out of the Rockies' lineup with lingering soreness in his left leg. Colorado trainer Keith Dugger said Tulowitzki, who is second in the NL with a .348 batting average, has minor swelling in his left adductor, near the groin. It's close to the area where he had season-ending surgery last June to remove scar tissue but is unrelated to that injury, Dugger said.
NOTES: The Yankees stole four bases. ... The crowd of 41,595 included three dozen members of the Denver Broncos, who watched the Yankees take batting practice and posed for pictures on the field before the game. And unlike in January, Peyton Manning wasn't booed when he took a knee this time. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was drafted by Colorado in 1992, was presented with a Rockies jersey in a home plate ceremony before the game as part of the Rockies' 20th anniversary celebration.