By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 13- Friday night’s game between the Yankees and the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium was dominated by rain. The contest began with the temperature at 73 degrees contrasted with the torrid temperatures during the earlier games of the current homestand. The rain intensified in the early innings until play was halted at 8:42
Neither team put a run on the board prior to the rain delay. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda gave up five hits and one walk in his first four innings on the mound. Base runners of the Twins were in scoring position in every inning except the second, but Twins batters failed to drive any runners across the plate as they batted 0 for 6 with runners on second and/or third base.
Scott Diamond, a major league sophomore, held the Yanks to one hit, a single by Lyle Overbay in the second, but he issued three walks.
Play resumed in the bottom of the fourth after a one hour and 13minute rain delay. Rain did continue throughout the game, but the nine innings were completed. Diamond was removed from the game in the fourth, but Kuroda returned in the fifth.
After retiring the first two batters he faced, Joe Mauer, a three-time American League batting champion, doubled and Justine Morneau, the Home Run Derby winner in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, walked. It was the final rally that Kuroda quashed before leaving the contest.
When asked about keeping Kuroda in the game after such a lengthy rain delay, Yankees manager Joe Girardi remarked, “We had him throwing underneath. He did a good job when he came back.” Kuroda discussed his desire to remain in the contest regardless of the delay, “I did this 2 or 3 years ago. With all the preparation I made for this, I wanted to come back. The rain stopped earlier than I thought; I think that helped me come back.”
Kuroda earned his eighth victory of 2013 as the only runs of the game were scored in the bottom of the fifth. Luis Cruz opened the inning with a single. Cruz advanced to second on a sacrifice by Chris Stewart. Brett Gardner drove in the first run with a single. A ground out by Ichiro Suzuki moved him to second and Gardner scored on a single to center by Robinson Cano.
Yankee relievers, Preston Claiborne, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, did not yield a run to give the team its fifth shutout of the season. Lefty Boone Logan was called into the game in the seventh with two on and no outs to face three tough lefty batters, Chris Parmelee, Mauer and Morneau. Logan struck out all three, after the game, he commented, “I had to bear down and fight the elements. These guys have given me trouble my whole career. This was the time to do it.”
Rivera earned his 30th save by retiring the side in the ninth.
The Twins have lost 12 of the last 13 games and are 7-31 in the Bronx since 2002.
The starting pitchers for the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon will be Phil Hughes (4-8) and Samuel Deduno (4-4)