Hard-hit Kuroda draws laughs after stinker

NEW YORK -- Hiroki Kuroda didn't have much Friday night, but he did have a sense of humor.

After the worst start of his career, Kuroda was asked if it is hard to make adjustments as a 39-year-old pitcher.

"I don't know. This is the first time I've been 39," Kuroda said through his translator, drawing laughter from reporters, after allowing eight runs (six earned) in 4⅔ innings in the New York Yankees' 13-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Kuroda didn't offer up any excuses, about the cold weather or anything else. But after four pretty good starts this season, this was a clunker. The Angels hit four home runs, two off Kuroda.

"His stuff was a little flat," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Angels started beating up Kuroda in the second inning. They scored three runs on two singles and a double.

"The key moment was in the second inning," Kuroda said. "With runners on first and third, I got ahead 0-2."

Instead of finishing off Hank Conger for the first out, Conger smashed an RBI double for the first run of the game. From there, Kuroda never found his footing.

In the third, Kuroda was one batter away from escaping without allowing a run. He retired the first two batters before a single preceded Ian Stewart's two-run homer. In the fifth, Albert Pujols went deep, and Kuroda was soon gone from the game.

Kuroda has had some weird splits lately. He was 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA in his past 15 home starts. On the road, he is 0-7 in his past nine starts.

He usually has success against the Angels. Before Friday, he was 3-2 with a 2.16 ERA against Los Angeles. He is expected to make his next start on Thursday at home against the Seattle Mariners.

McCann at first: Brian McCann played first base late in the game, for the second game in a row. Could Girardi be prepping McCann for some starts there in place of Mark Teixeira?

"No, no," Girardi said. "You get a little nervous pulling your catcher and not having an extra catcher."

If John Ryan Murphy were to go down, Girardi would have been forced to use someone unaccustomed to catching if he had taken McCann completely out of the game.

McCann hadn't played first base since high school before Thursday's win in Boston. It wouldn't be a shocker if, at some point this season, McCann picks up a start or two at first base if the need occurs.

Thanks, now goodbye: Bruce Billings chewed up some innings for the Yankees' depleted bullpen. Now, he will likely be sent right back down to Triple-A.

Girardi said he would talk about it with GM Brian Cashman on Friday night. Vidal Nuno starts Saturday, and David Phelps can't be used in relief because he is starting on Wednesday.

Kelley in the ninth: The Yankees were down 11 runs with two outs in the ninth inning when Girardi made a pitching change. He brought in Shawn Kelley, who hadn't pitched since Sunday.

"He just hadn't thrown in a while," Girardi said.

Cool with it: Girardi basically always backs his players no matter what. With the Yankees trailing 8-1 in the sixth inning, there were two outs and men on first and second. Carlos Beltran decided to swipe third. He was safe, but Teixeira didn't run on the back end.

Trying to steal in that situation doesn't make much sense, but Girardi said he was fine with Beltran doing so. He was safe, so it didn't matter.

"If they're going to give it to you, we are going to take it," Girardi said.

It was a pretty close play, but Beltran got in there.