NEW YORK - Hiroki Kuroda threw a masterful five-hit shutout Sunday night and Brett Gardner's two-run homer capped a three-run fifth inning as the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 in front of 34,154 at blustery Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees (6-5) won for the fifth time in six games following a 1-4 start. The Orioles (6-6) capped a season-opening stretch in which they played just three games at home. Baltimore will play its next nine games at Camden Yards.
Kuroda, who had a 6.75 ERA in his first two starts, struck out five -- including Chris Davis to end the game -- and walked none in his fifth career shutout and his third in just 36 starts with the Yankees.
Kuroda didn't allow a runner past second base until the ninth inning. He threw 113 pitches, threw three pitches or less to 17 batters and went to a three-ball count just three times.
Kuroda threw more than 15 pitches in an inning once (a 19-pitch fifth). Staked to the three-run lead, he needed just seven pitches to dispatch the Orioles in order in the sixth.
Brennan Boesch had two singles for the Yankees, including the hit that started the Yankees' fifth-inning outburst. After back-to-back singles by Boesch and Francisco Cervelli, consecutive fly outs to deep right by Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix brought home Boesch. Gardner followed with a majestic two-run homer to right off the foul pole.
Wei-Yin Chen was the hard-luck loser for the Orioles after allowing three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two over six innings. Chen is winless in his last 10 regular-season starts, a stretch in which the Orioles have scored just 15 runs for him while he's been on the mound.
Chen matched Kuroda until the fifth inning. Prior to that, both were working quickly and cleanly on a brisk 51-degree evening. Neither allowed a runner past first base in the first four innings. Kuroda retired a batter in three pitches or less seven times in that span while Chen did it six times.
NOTES: Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who has been sidelined since fracturing his right forearm in the exhibition opener Feb. 24, threw from 60 feet Thursday and Saturday and shagged fly balls during batting practice Sunday. He's still not ready to swing a bat, though, and said he would need 50 to 70 at-bats before he'd be ready to return to the Yankees. ... New York left-hander Andy Pettitte, who was originally scheduled to start Sunday's game, had his next start bumped back again from Tuesday to Friday due to back spasms. Pettitte was supposed to throw a bullpen session Sunday, but that got pushed to Tuesday because manager Joe Girardi was worried Pettitte's availability for Friday would have been endangered if he still felt discomfort while throwing Sunday. ... Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez, who was on the right wrist hit by a pitch Friday night, was only available as an emergency defensive replacement Sunday. ... Utility man Conor Jackson, who was the Orioles' final cut in spring training, announced his retirement Sunday. Jackson spent the first two weeks of the season at Triple-A Norfolk. A first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2003, Jackson hit .271 with 52 homers and 295 RBIs in seven big leagues seasons but was hampered by injuries the last several years, including a debilitating bout with valley fever. ... Orioles designated hitters were just 2-for-37 this season before Nolan Reimold's third-inning single. ... The Orioles and the Rockies are the only teams to play just three home games thus far.