Hiroki Kuroda leads shutout of White Sox as Yanks bash 3 homers

NEW YORK -- After a calamitous couple of days for the

Yankees pitching staff, Hiroki Kuroda provided some needed calm.

All he had to do was be himself.

His start Saturday was as good as any he's had since an

unimpressive first two months. The right-hander struck out 11 in

seven innings to help New York end Chicago's winning streak at four

games by beating the White Sox 4-0.

The strikeouts tied a career high for Kuroda, and his teammates

backed him with three home runs. A day after outfielder Dewayne

Wise was perfect in his pro pitching debut during a mop-up role, he

was perfect at the plate. He had three hits and homered, with

Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano also connecting.

New York's pitching situation has been fraught since Wednesday,

when the Yankees placed CC Sabathia on the disabled list with a

strained groin, and lost Andy Pettitte for two months when he was

hit in the lower left fibula by a batted ball, breaking the bone at

the ankle.

"These are great pitchers that we're missing, and I thought we

could have a really negative effect, but the only thing I can do on

the mound is to pitch my game," Kuroda said through a translator.

Kuroda (8-7) pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and walked

one in the matchup of AL division leaders.

"Sinker, slider, splitter for the most part," Yankees manager

Joe Girardi said. "He just really locked in to the strike zone and

started locating."

Jake Peavy (6-5) struck out 11 without a walk in his fourth

complete game this year.

The Yankees had another homer happy day in the heat, but far

more gratifying to them must have been Kuroda's performance.

Since they lost their ace and their key veteran left-hander,

Ivan Nova gave the Yankees a good start in a game the bullpen lost

Thursday and rookie Adam Warren couldn't get out of the third

inning on Friday night in a game that the bullpen made even worse.

Wise had to finish off the 14-7 loss by getting the last two outs.

Kuroda began the game by allowing a single to Alejandro De Aza,

who was thrown out trying to steal second. Then he allowed a

two-out walk and single. After that, he retired 15 straight batters

after Paul Konerko's two-out single in the first inning, ending his

streak by hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch when there were two

outs in the sixth. The plunking came after Derek Jeter had been hit

by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth following Wise's homer.

"I was trying to be too careful, too perfect," Kuroda said.

"Now I try to be as aggressive as possible."

He was talking about Saturday, but he could have been talking

about his acclimation to the American League. In his last seven

starts he's 5-1 with 46 strikeouts against 11 walks in his last

seven starts and a 1.65 ERA.

"He looked pretty good today for sure," said Chicago's Gordon Beckham, who went 0 for 3. "He had a lot of movement on his


David Robertson pitched the eighth and left-hander Boone Logan

and closer Rafael Soriano protected the four-run lead in the ninth

to finish the three-hitter.

Chicago has still won six of eight during a run that helped it

overtake Cleveland for the AL Central lead. The White Sox fell to

23-15 on the road, which still has them only a half-game behind the

Yankees for best in the AL.

Peavy was taken deep to right three times, all by left-handed


"On the plate, just don't let them pull the ball in this

ballpark," Peavy said. "You've got to keep the ball out of the

air that way. The ball gets in the air ... you've got no chance.

"Obviously that happened three times."

Granderson hit one out in the first, Wise's homer came in the

fifth and Cano led off the sixth with a towering first-pitch drive.

The Yankees began the day with what was already a major league-best

119 home runs.

Wise also hit an RBI double in the second and tied a career high

with three hits.

"He's swinging the bat real well and we like the way he's

swinging the bat," Girardi said. "He even got two outs last night

for us, so he's kind of doing everything for us."

Game notes

White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd is set to face Yankees righty

Phil Hughes in Sunday's game, which will be Old-Timers' Day at

Yankee Stadium. ... Gametime temperature was 93 degrees. ...

Chicago returns home after Sunday's series finale for an off day

before facing Texas and Toronto for six games going into the

All-Star break. The Yankees wrap up before the break with three

games at Tampa Bay and a four-game set in Boston that includes a

day-night doubleheader on Saturday, July 7. Kuroda also fanned 11

in 2008 vs. the Cubs, when he was with the Dodgers.