Kuroda hopes to rebound in Toronto

While Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodriguez continue to turn back the clock, New York Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda would just simply like to dial things back a few weeks.

Kuroda tries to rebound from two straight subpar efforts and secure a series victory for the Yankees on Wednesday night in the finale of a three-game set versus the Toronto Blue Jays.

Kuroda has been roughed up over back-to-back losses to Boston and Tampa Bay after having gone 4-1 with a 0.94 earned run average over seven starts prior. He gave up just five earned runs over 48 innings in that span, but the Red Sox got to him for five runs -- three earned -- and a season-high 11 hits over 5 2/3 innings on Aug. 17.

The right-hander hoped to rebound on Friday versus the Rays, but instead matched career highs by giving up seven runs and four homers in six innings of work. It was the first home runs Kuroda had allowed since June 30.

"It was really strange, he just didn't have his stuff tonight," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

The 38-year-old hurler is now 11-9 with a 2.71 ERA in 26 starts this year, three of those coming versus the Blue Jays. He is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in those outings and 4-1 lifetime in six matchups against Toronto with a 3.03 ERA.

Kuroda would love to see Alfonso Soriano stay red hot. The 37-year-old slugger is hitting .275 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 30 games since being reacquired by the Yankees and he went deep twice in last night's 7-1 win.

Soriano's second homer was the 400th of his career. The first 98 of those came with New York to begin his career from 1999-2003 before he was dealt to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez.

"He's been great for us. He's the reason we have been scoring a lot more runs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Soriano. "We get another big night out of him tonight. He's been great."

Rodriguez also homered last night, his second in as many games. The 38-year- old has four in 20 games this season and 651 in his career, nine back of Willie Mays for fourth on baseball's all-time list.

Andy Pettitte was also solid over seven scoreless innings, though New York got a scare when Robinson Cano was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the first inning by Toronto's J.A. Happ. He was replaced in the bottom of the inning by Eduardo Nunez and x-rays after the game were negative and Cano is day-to-day.

Nunez's status is also up in the air after he tweaked his right knee later in the game and had to come out.

Still, New York has won seven of 10 and 12 of its past 17 to sit 4 1/2 games out of the league's second wild card spot.

Moises Sierra collected three hits for Toronto, while Happ was charged with five runs over 4 2/3 innings.

"I wasn't sharp enough. It's tough when you get behind against a team like that," Happ said.

Toronto has lost eight of its last 10 games and is 2-13 versus New York this season.

On Wednesday, the Blue Jays turn to Todd Redmond, who is 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in 11 games (8 starts) this season.

The righty has not won since July 7, posting six straight no-decisions before a 12-4 loss at Houston on Friday. Redmond gave up season highs of eight runs -- seven earned -- and eight hits, also walking three and striking out six over 3 1/3 innings.

Redmond, 28, will face the Yankees for the first time.