Hiroki Kuroda, Meet Justin Morneau

Yahoo Contributor Network

NEW YORK--If New York Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda (L, 1-2) never has to throw another pitch to Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau ever again, something tells me he wouldn't mind.

In Game 3 of the Twins-Yankees four-game set at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Kuroda took a 10-hit, six-run battering--with half of those runs scoring on a pair of home runs he gave up to Morneau--over 4-1/3 innings in a 6-5 loss.

"I wasn't able to get into rhythm," Kuroda said through an interpreter, before adding, "They're really aggressive and hit a lot of balls early in the count."

Minnesota went in front 4-0 in the first after Jamey Carroll and Joe Mauer hit consecutive RBI doubles and Morneau's two-run home run into the right-center field bullpen.

New York plated three runs against starter Jason Marquis (W, 1-0) (5.0 IP, 7H, 4R) in the bottom of the inning, cutting its deficit to 4-3 on Robinson Cano's RBI double and Nick Swisher's two-run single. Later in the first, Eric Chavez had a chance to do more damage for the Yankees with one out and the bases full, but he'd bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Each club scored one run in the third. Twins third baseman Sean Burroughs singled in Morneau and Cano emphatically countered with a solo homer to right, making it a one-run game at 5-4. Morneau then homered off Kuroda again--this time with no one on--in the fifth, upping Minnesota's lead to 6-4.

Morneau would be Kuroda's final hitter, though not the sole reason, in catcher Russell Martin's opinion, that the veteran right-hander took his second loss this season.

"They (Twins hitters) were aggressive, they got a couple of bloopers in there, well-located hits. Nothing you could really do about that," Martin said. "We weren't really able to weather the storm there."

Game Notes: Game attendance: 36,831 ... Jeter, facing Twins closer Matt Capps, worked a 10-pitch at-bat in the ninth, sending the last of those offerings over the fence in right-center. Fortunately for Minnesota, Morneau's second homer held up, as Capps would get Mark Teixeira to fly out to deep right to end the game. ... Also in the ninth, Josh Willingham extended his hitting streak to 12 games by doubling off Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Willingham is the second first-year Twins player in franchise history to hit safely in each of the team's first 12 games of a season. Bobby Darwin was the first Twins player to reach that distinction, doing so to start the 1972 season ... Morneau now has 15 career multi-homer games. His last such game prior to Wednesday took place on May 31, 2011, on the road against the Detroit Tigers. ... Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00 ERA) will get the start for New York in Thursday night's series finale, as will right-hander Anthony Swarzak (0-2, 3.75 ERA) for the Twins.

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