NEW YORK - Hiroki Kuroda navigated his way through trouble for five innings while Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano delivered RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth inning, leading the New York Yankees to a 2-0 victory Friday night over the Minnesota Twins at rainy Yankee Stadium
Kuroda (8-6) allowed six hits, struck out five and issued two walks. He pitched deliberately during the first four innings before a 73-minute rain delay but seemed to make his best pitches with men on base.
Kuroda held Minnesota hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position and 1-for-12 with men on base.
New York won its third straight game and its eighth in 11 games.
The Yankees got all the offense they needed in the fifth. Luis Cruz opened the inning against reliever Ryan Pressly (2-2) by lacing a 0-2 curveball into left field. After being sacrificed over by Chris Stewart, he scored on Gardner's base hit to left on a 1-2 slider.
Gardner took second on the throw and that proved vital when he moved to third on a groundout to second by Ichiro Suzuki. Cano followed with single up the middle against Brian Duensing that easily scored Gardner.
After getting the lead, the Yankee bullpen took over.
Preston Claiborne pitched a scoreless sixth but started the seventh by allowing consecutive singles. Boone Logan inherited a first-and-second jam and made that second and third with one out after bouncing a first-pitch slider to Joe Mauer.
Logan recovered by getting the strikeout on an inside full-count slider that Mauer briefly questioned, though replays showed it crossed the plate. Logan then fanned Justin Morneau on a check-swing, prompting the first baseman to fling his bat and helmet, though he was not ejected by plate umpire Lance Barksdale.
David Robertson pitched a hitless eighth and Mariano Rivera did the same in the ninth for his 30th save.
The Twins dropped their sixth straight and fell to 1-11 in their last 12 games as starter Scott Diamond did not return after allowing one hit and three walks in 3 1/3 innings before the rain delay.
Kuroda allowed consecutive two-out singles to Mauer and Morneau in the first inning, but escaped when Ryan Doumit's ground ball deflected off Lyle Overbay's glove to Cano, who threw the ball back to Overbay at first for the out.
Diamond threw 14 of 23 pitches out of the strike zone in the bottom of the first and allowed consecutive two-out walks to Cano and Vernon Wells before getting rookie Zoilo Almonte to hit into a force play at second. Morneau made a nice throw on from his knees to get the out.
Minnesota threatened again in the third. It had runners at first and second with one out, thanks to a double by Brian Dozier and walk to Mauer. Kuroda struck out Morneau and retired Doumit on a force play at third.
The game began in a slight mist, but the rain intensified in the fourth inning. Kuroda pitched through it, getting two strikeouts, including one to Pedro Floriman, whose bat went into the first row behind the New York dugout.
Before the Yankees batted in the bottom of the fourth, the grounds crew went over the field several times but play continued for the first out. The game was delayed at 8:42 EDT after an 0-1 pitch to Overbay.
NOTES: The Yankees said that Derek Jeter's spirits were high and that he was his normal self despite having to the miss the series because of a hamstring injury sustained on Thursday. GM Brian Cashman said that he was caught off-guard when trainer Steve Donahue informed him why Jeter was being lifted from the game on Thursday. ... 3B Alex Rodriguez was slated to play seven innings in the field for For Class A Tampa, but his game against Bradenton was rained out.... Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire addressed a column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Thursday that discussed his managerial status by saying he has no intention of leaving. "I've seen an awful lot of good here. It's a little rough right now; we're trying to figure that out," he said. "As long as they keep me here, I'll try to figure it out. If they decide they want to do something, that's what they decide."