NEW YORK -- The Yankees are halfway to a doubleheader sweep -- and two-thirds of the way to a series sweep -- over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have not won a game at Yankee Stadium since Game 5 of the 1960 World Series. Yes, you read that right.
OK, so there have been only eight games between the two teams since, but still, the Yankees swept the Pirates here in 2005 and 2007, and with today's 4-3 victory in Game 1 of this makeup doubleheader, they need a win in the second game to keep the streak alive.
So-so Hiro: By the definition of the term, Hiroki Kuroda put in a quality start today, working six innings and allowing three runs on five hits, two of them home runs. But he survived a largely self-created bases-loaded jam – including two walks -- in the fourth inning, when Gaby Sanchez grounded out to end the inning and found a soft spot in the Pirates' lineup in Starling Marte, who followed Saturday's 3-for-3 day with four K’s Sunday, three of them by Kuroda.
Sorry Charlie: The Yankees roughed up Pirates starter Charlie Morton for three first-inning runs on a bases-loaded, two-out single by Mark Teixeira and an RBI single by Brian McCann. Brett Gardner started the inning by drawing a walk, Derek Jeter laid down a perfect bunt up the third-base line for a single, and Morton hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch to load the bases for Teixeira, who now has 22 RBIs, one behind team leader Yangervis Solarte.
Neil and pray: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker belted the first pitch he saw from Kuroda into the right-field seats to give the Bucs a 1-0 first-inning lead. It was Walker's ninth home run of the season, giving him the team lead.
Zoiled again: Zoilo Almonte was called safe on a pickoff attempt in the fourth, but Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call, and whaddaya know? Zoilo was out, and the Pirates were out of the inning.
Lumber slumber: After Gardner's RBI double with one out in the second, the Yankees managed just one single, by Almonte, in their next 17 at-bats, and Morton, who looked unlikely to survive the second inning, wound up pitching seven.