Even Houdini can't work around leadoff walks.
Yankees reliever David Robertson surrendered the game-winning run Sunday after he walked the leadoff batter in the 10th inning of the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Red Sox. Robertson yielded two hits and that base-on-balls in his lone inning of work, as he fell to 1-4 on the season.
"That's what haunts me in that inning, the leadoff walk. Leadoff walks always come back to haunt you," Robertson said. "First pitch (Jarrod) Saltalamacchia swung and I couldn't make a pitch after that."
Entering a 2-2 game, Robertson lost the strike zone against Saltalamacchia and gave him a free pass, committing a cardinal sin in baseball. After getting ahead 0-2 on Will Middlebrooks, which included a controversial foul ball that led to two ejections, Robertson yielded a single.
Then with two on and one out, he became the latest victim of Pedro Ciriaco, as the shortstop blooped an inside fastball to short right to score the go-ahead run.
"It's tough but it's part of the game," Robertson said of the bloop. "You're going to catch bad breaks at times. He hit a good pitch, he hit it where no one could catch it. That's all you can say. It's a tough break and all you can do is be ready for tomorrow."
During Middlebrooks' at-bat, when he squared to bunt and the ball appeared to careen and hit him on the forearm and umpire Brian O'Nora on the leg, the game stopped for several minutes. The two were checked on after being hit by the foul ball, and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine later argued the ruling before both he and Josh Beckett were ejected. Robertson said the delay did not affect him.
"That's part of the game. It happens sometimes," he said. "Not a whole lot you can do about it except you try to remain calm and focused and collected and ready to make a pitch."
KURODA SHINES: The Yankees didn't fall Sunday because of a lack of starting pitching. Veteran Hiroki Kuroda pitched eight fantastic innings and held the Red Sox to just two runs in a no-decision. He's 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA since June 25.
"(He was) resilient, he got a number of double-play balls," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought he pitched a really good game. He gave us a lot of length and did a good job."
In his previous start against Boston on July 6, Kuroda had arguably his worst outing, getting teed up for 10 hits and seven runs. He was much better this time, making just one mistake in the second as he gave up a two-run double to Ryan Sweeney. The veteran induced four double plays in his eight innings, including an inning-ending one with the Yankees down 2-0 with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth.
MARTIN STEPS UP: All the Yankees' offense came courtesy of Russell Martin, who blasted a home run in the seventh to slice it to 2-1, and then singled in the eighth to tie the game.
"I feel good right now," Martin said. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball well. That's the first key, seeing the ball well. I feel like I'm seeing it nice."