Hiroki Kuroda eyes his first win in four starts this evening when the New York Yankees continue a four-game series with the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium.
Kuroda had allowed two runs or less in four straight starts (2-1) before giving up three along with 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. He also struck out five without walking a batter, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 4-3 win.
The right-hander has won seven of his last nine decisions and is 10-8 on the year with a 3.24 ERA.
"He's met our expectations definitely. He has pitched outstanding for us," Girardi said. "Each start he really gives us a chance to win. He's given us distance. He's been extremely consistent. It's what we expected when we got him. The one thing we talked about with Hiroki was this guy can really pitch and locate, and he's done that."
Kuroda lost to the Rangers the last time he faced them and is 0-2 in two starts against them with a 4.50 ERA.
New York won for the fifth time in six games in Monday's opener, as Nick Swisher belted a grand slam, and Derek Lowe paid immediate dividends in his Yankees debut in an 8-2 win.
Lowe, who was signed by the Yankees on Monday after being released by Cleveland last week, gave up just two hits and had four strikeouts over the final four shutout innings. The righty gained his first save since 2001 when he pitched for Boston. This marked Lowe's third relief stint since that season.
"He saved our bullpen there," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "His sinker was really good, his slider was good tonight, a lot of ground ball outs. A tremendous job on his part."
David Phelps (3-3) started and yielded six hits and a pair of runs over five innings.
Swisher, whose home run was the 200th of his career, knocked in five runs, while Eric Chavez also homered and Derek Jeter had an RBI and scored twice for the AL East-leading Yankees, who are a half-game in front of the Rangers for the best record in the AL.
David Murphy went deep for the AL West front-runners, who lost for just the fourth time in 12 contests this month.
Ryan Dempster (1-1) was shelled for nine hits and eight runs over six-plus innings.
Hoping for a better effort tonight, the Rangers will rely on lefty Matt Harrison, who is 13-6 with a 3.31 ERA. Harrison was not effective on Wednesday in Boston thanks in part to a stomach bug, as he allowed five runs (4 earned) and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. However ,he did not get a decision in his team's 10-9 win.
"I feel good. I'm ready to rebound from my last start and go out and do my job," Harrison said. "The biggest thing is I didn't have any energy. I felt drained and that was compounded by the humidity, it definitely made it harder to maintain hydration. I still wanted to go out and win the ballgame. There were just times I didn't make the pitch I needed to and times I just didn't make good pitches."
Harrison has faced the Yankees seven times (4 starts) and is 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA.
The Rangers took two of three from the Yankees earlier in the year.