Kuroda outduels Holland as Yankees edge Rangers

Michael Eldridge, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- New York starter Hiroki Kuroda outdueled Texas left-hander Derek Holland in the Yankees' 2-0 victory over the Rangers on Thursday afternoon.
Kuroda (10-6) picked up his third consecutive win and did not allow an earned run for the third time in four starts. Kuroda, improving to 2-0 against Texas this season, worked seven innings and was barely threatened by the Rangers.
"Whatever happens with the offense, I want to make sure I can continue to win," Kuroda said. "With a two-run lead I was able to get big outs and get out with it."
Brent Lillibridge made Holland pay for the Yankees' second consecutive leadoff double in the sixth. Lillibridge followed Austin Romine's double to start the inning with one of his own for the game's first run.
Holland departed in the eighth after giving up a double to Robinson Cano that turned into a run on an Eduardo Nunez soft grounder two batters later.
Texas' manager Ron Washington said that he has been telling Holland the same message that he has relayed to other starters not receiving run support.
"He just needs to do his job," Washington said. "He has to keep us in the ball game and he has been doing that."
Holland allowed eight hits, two earned runs and a walk to go along with two strikeouts.
The Rangers' best chance against Kuroda came in the sixth with two runners on and one out. However, back-to-back line drives to the outfield silenced the scoring opportunity.
Kuroda said that he didn't have his best stuff despite Texas not having an answer for him.
"I don't think I had any particular pitch that was working well and from the start I wasn't having a decent outing, but I was able to get big outs and had a good outing in the end," Kuroda said.
Behind the plate, Romine said that Kuroda was a perfectionist and that if he wasn't perfect would not be happy with his outing.
"I knew what we had from the beginning," Romine said. "We found pitches that worked and we caught these guys off balanced and it worked. He's a perfectionist. If he isn't perfect he thinks that he isn't good."
Kuroda struck out three and gave up a walk and six hits.
David Robertson worked a perfect eighth with a strikeout for the Yankees and gave way to closer Mariano Rivera.
Rivera, pitching in his final regular-season appearance at Rangers Ballpark, picked up his 33rd save of the season, working around a one-out single.
Holland had blanked the Yankees for 14 1/3 innings in two starts before New York pushed a run across the plate in the sixth.
Texas finished the series with just 10 runs over the four-game series, six coming from its two wins. Washington said that the team has not been living up to its potential and needs to produce what it has in the past to be effective.
"We are an effective offense if everyone plays up to their capabilities," Washington said. "We need all of these guys to do what they have done. There are times things don't go your way and you have to grind through it. That is what we are doing now and we just have to grind through it."
Romine led the Yankees with a career-high three hits, and New York had hits from eight of its nine batters in the starting lineup.
The 24-year-old catcher said that he has been working on his approach to improve on his offense.
"I got in the cage one day and said something is not working," Romine said. "They told me it was mental and not physical so we spent a full day in the cage at home hitting pitches and it has worked."
The Yankees (54-48) ended a seven-game road trip on a high note by splitting their four-game series with the Rangers. Finishing 3-4 on the trip, New York prevented Texas from taking back-to-back series against the club for the first time since 1993.
New York begins a brief three-game home series Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Texas (56-46), shut out for the sixth time this year, closed out its seven-game homestand by winning just two after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles. Texas fell to 3 1/2 games back in the American League West race, its largest deficit in the division since 2010.
NOTES: As part of Rivera's farewell, the Texas Rangers honored him before the game with a donation of $5,000 to the Mariano Rivera Foundation. ... The Yankees announced that Alex Rodriguez (quad injury) was examined by a team doctor Thursday and he would not be in the lineup Friday. ... Texas' Adrian Beltre extended his league-best 18-game streak in which he has not struck out.

What to Read Next