Bronx, NY – Hiroki Kuroda combined with four relievers on an eight-hit shutout as the New York Yankees dealt the free-falling Minnesota Twins a 2-0 defeat in the opener of a three-game series.
The Yankees had to overcome another injury to captain Derek Jeter as well as a 73-minute rain delay to register their ninth victory in 12 July games, with Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano delivering RBI singles in the fifth inning in addition to the club's strong pitching effort.
Kuroda (8-6) worked around six hits and a pair of walks while operating the first five innings, Boone Logan got out of a jam in the seventh and Mariano Rivera tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down his 30th save of the season.
The Yankees announced before the game that Jeter, who returned from a nine- month layoff caused by a fractured ankle during Thursday's win over Kansas City but strained his quadriceps during the matchup, will be held out until after the upcoming All-Star break.
Minnesota has now dropped six in a row and 12 of its last 13 contests after struggling mightily in the clutch on Friday. The Twins went 0-for-12 with runners and scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Scott Diamond threw 3 1/3 scoreless frames for Minnesota prior to the weather stoppage, with Ryan Pressly (2-2) hung with the loss after being charged with allowing both Yankee runs in a one-inning stint in relief.
Pressly replaced Diamond when play resumed in the bottom of the fourth inning and recorded two quick outs, but surrendered a leadoff single to Luis Cruz with the game still scoreless in the Yankees' half of the fifth. After a sacrifice bunt from Chris Stewart moved Cruz into scoring range, Gardner shot a ground ball through the left side of the infield to bring him home while taking second on the throw to the plate.
Two batters later, Cano smacked Brian Duensing's two-out pitch up the middle to score Gardner from third for a 2-0 New York edge.
Kuroda was able to keep the Twins off the board despite several scoring opportunities by the visitors. Brian Dozier socked a double that one-hopped the wall in left center to begin the third but was left stranded, and Minnesota had a runner on second with none out in the fourth as well. Trevor Plouffe singled and advanced a base on a wild pitch, but Kuroda kept him there by striking out two around a flyout by Aaron Hicks.
The Twins had another threat come up empty in the seventh, which started with consecutive singles by Pedro Florimon and Dozier against Preston Claiborne. Both were placed in scoring position on a wild pitch after Logan struck out Chris Parmelee, and remained on the bags when the Yankee reliever got All-Star Joe Mauer looking at a called third strike and then fanned Justin Morneau.
"Boone Logan did an outstanding job," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Minnesota mustered little against Rivera, who needed just nine pitches to set down the side in order.
"We had opportunities and we put men out there just didn't come up with any big hits again, kinda what our storyline's been," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Get them out there and missed opportunities."
Dozier, Mauer and Plouffe each finished with two hits for the Twins ... Kuroda improved to 6-2 in 10 home starts this year and lowered his ERA at Yankee Stadium to 1.74 for the season ... Minnesota is now 3-15 on the road since June 5 and have lost eight of their last nine overall matchups with New York, which swept a four-game set between the clubs in Minneapolis last week ... Morneau ended 1-for-3 and is batting just .128 (5-for-39) in July ... The Yankees signed Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge, their last of three first- round picks in last month's MLB Draft, just prior to Friday's deadline.