Kuroda's gem wasted in 2-1 loss

NEW YORK -- Sunday's blown save had a little more sting to it for Mariano Rivera after watching Hiroki Kuroda dissect the Orioles all afternoon.

"It's difficult. It's a loss. But the way [Hiroki] Kuroda was pitching, he was doing outstanding. He did great," Rivera said. "It would have been a good game to save. I don't say the other ones aren't good, but this one should have been great, but I didn't [get it done]."

Kuroda pitched a brilliant game on Sunday as he held the Orioles scoreless over seven innings in the Yankees' 2-1 loss to Baltimore. Kuroda yielded three hits and cruised through 88 pitches.

"It was good to see him get out there and throw extremely well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought his sinker was good and I thought his splitter was extremely good today."

Kuroda had been scheduled to start Friday, but was pushed back due to a hip issue. An MRI came back clean and Kuroda's bullpen session Friday went well, allowing the team to slot him into the rotation on Sunday. The Yankees had to rearrange their rotation due to starter David Phelps going on the DL.

Facing an Orioles team that tagged him for three homers and four runs a week ago, Kuroda pitched his best game in more than a month. Armed with a devastating splitter, Kuroda held the the Orioles to just four baserunners, and he allowed just one walk over his final 13 batters. The Orioles went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position against Kuroda, who lowered his ERA to 2.77.

"I was trying to keep us in the ball game," Kuroda said. "With a one-run lead, I think I was able to do that."

Saddled with a no-decision on Sunday, Kuroda has now won just one game in his past nine starts. Sunday seemed like it would be the second one, but a rare blown save kept him from win No. 8.

"It was a good situation to have [David] Robertson in the eighth and Mariano in the ninth," Kuroda said. "With that, if we don't get the win, nothing you can do about it."

ROBERTSON WANTS IN: David Robertson hopes to take part in the festivities at Citi Field on July 16.

"I would love to go the All-Star game, especially with Mo [Rivera] in his last year, it would be a lot fun, and it being in New York too," Robertson said. "We'll see what happens. Hopefully I can win in the votes."

Robertson is part of the Final Vote, where fans will select the final member of the AL All-Star team in balloting that runs through Thursday. Robertson is alongside four other relievers in Detroit's Joaquin Benoit, Toronto's Steve Delabar, Boston's Koji Uehara and Texas' Tanner Scheppers.

In 2010, former Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher won the Final Vote and went all out in his campaign to get in, even posing with a surfboard. Robertson isn't quite sure which direction his campaign is going to go at the minute, but it won't be emulating Swisher's.

"I'm sure we'll try to do everything we can to win," Robertson said. "I don't know if you'll see me in a surfboard and a Tommy Bahama."