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AP - Sports

For much of the season, Hiroki Kuroda was the New York Yankees' most reliable starting pitcher.

With the club trying to chase down a wild-card spot, he has been a liability.

Kuroda tries to bounce back from another subpar showing when he takes the ball Tuesday night against the slumping Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium.

New York (73-64) scored eight times in the fourth inning en route to a 9-1 win in Monday's series opener for its 11th victory in 13 home games. Derek Jeter had a run-scoring single to stop an 0-for-14 slide and had two RBIs, while Alfonso Soriano drove in his 37th run in 35 games since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs.

Determined to make a statement, the Yankees, who are in contention for the AL's second wild card, improved to 16-8 since being swept in a three-game series against the lowly White Sox (56-80) in Chicago last month.

"We've played better, there's no doubt about it. We've added a few pieces here since we played," manager Joe Girardi said. "I feel a lot better."

Girardi would probably feel even better if Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA) would break out of his funk.

Kuroda shut down the Los Angles Angels on Aug. 12 to win his team-best 11th game and lower his ERA to 2.33, the best in the rotation. He has lost each of his three starts since, however, posting an 8.10 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .382.

The right-hander has permitted career highs of seven runs in each of his last two outings, and lasted five innings in Wednesday's 7-2 loss to Toronto.

"To not have my stuff at this stage of the season is pretty frustrating," Kuroda said through a translator

Perhaps if there is any reason to believe he can turn things around it is each of Kuroda's last three starts have come on the road. He has pitched significantly better at Yankee Stadium, going 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA - the lowest in the AL. He carries a 20-inning scoreless streak in the Bronx into this outing.

Of course, facing the White Sox could also help.

Chicago has plated 12 runs while batting .220 during a four-game losing streak, and is the AL's lowest-scoring team with 514 runs. No. 2 hitter Gordon Beckham is mired in a 2-for-23 slump and cleanup hitter Adam Dunn is 1 for 17 in his last five games.

Paul Konerko, who hit his 432nd homer Monday, is 2 for 10 lifetime against Kuroda.

Kuroda allowed three runs in seven innings in a 3-2 loss at Chicago on Aug. 6. He has a 1.93 ERA in two starts against the White Sox with New York.

Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99) outdueled Kuroda last month, yielding an unearned run over 7 1-3 innings, and he owns a 0.60 ERA in two starts in the series.

The left-hander pitched eight innings of one-run ball while striking out 12 in Wednesday's 6-1 victory over Houston, bouncing back from being tagged for eight runs in seven innings in a loss to Texas.

"Any time when you lose, and quite honestly get embarrassed, you always want to get back on the right foot, get out there and help your team," said Sale, who became the first pitcher in White Sox history to have 12-plus strikeouts in four starts in a season.

Excluding that hiccup against the Rangers, Sale is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA since Aug. 6.

Robinson Cano, who is batting .500 with two homers and 11 RBIs in his last 12 home games, is 3 for 8 lifetime against Sale.

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