(The Verge)- Hiroki Kuroda did not provide the Yankees with a clutch performance, and he is the stopper of the seven game winning streak. Kuroda gave up three runs early. Cliff Pennington was the thorn in the side of the Yankees and Kuroda. Without Pennington, the game would have turned out completely different.
Kuroda was given back the lead in the fourth after his team scored four runs on a Swisher home run and an Ibanez double. It did not take long for Kuroda to give that lead back to the A’s. He allowed an RBI single to Cespedes who has hit the Yankees hard all year. In the sixth, Kuroda pitched relatively well until Eduardo Nunez threw a ball into the stands which allowed the go-ahead run into scoring position. The runner would later score on an RBI single by guess who: Cliff Pennington. That run would be the decisive play in the game as the Yankees could not come back to score against the Oakland bullpen. The game was almost tied on a deep fly ball in the ninth by Alex Rodriguez but Josh Reddick would make the catch against the right field wall.
This game is especially crushing for the Yankees because the Orioles finally lost against the Red Sox. A win by the Yankees would give them a two game edge over Baltimore with ten games left to play. This division race will come down to the wire as the Yankees head into Minnesota for three games against an awful team. However, the games are not played on paper and the Yankees will have to hold the Twins offense down. Doing so tomorrow night will be Andy Pettitte in his second start off the DL. Pettitte was sharp on Wednesday against the Blue Jays where he recieved the win in the day portion of the double-header. The Yankees need to sweep the Twins if they want to keep the Orioles out of their way. Baltimore has played exceptionally well and the Yankees know that the Orioles will not go away. With that said, the Yankees play the remainder of their games against teams with losing records- Minnesota, Toronto and Boston. An 8-2 record in those games will most likely give the Yankees the division.
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