MLB Game Recaps: Hiroki Kuroda shuts down Angels

Yankees 5, Angels 0

The main reason why he signed with the New York Yankees was because of the money, but there was no lack of effort in the eight innings of scoreless ball that Hiroki Kuroda pitched to help the Yanks defeat the Los Angeles Angels 5-0. Alex Rodriguez smacked a deep homer, and Curtis Granderson added one as well. Nick Swisher got things going in the first with a base-clearing double to put New York up 3-0, and the Bombers never looked back.

For the Angels, Ervin Santana tossed six innings while giving up five runs and was thoroughly out-dueled by Kuroda. Joe Girardi quizzically took out the former Dodgers starter in the ninth to allow strikeout artist David Robertson to pitch the final frame, and he did not allow a hit or walk while also notching a K in his appearance on the mound.

Apr 13, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (18) pitches during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Orioles 7, Blue Jays 5

Nolan Reimold went 3-5 with three runs, an RBI, two doubles, and a home run in the ninth to seal the game for the O’s. New 3B Wilson Betemit gave the Orioles the lead in the eighth inning with a two-RBI single. The Orioles bullpen overcame a rough start from Tommy Hunter (six innings, six hits, four earned runs) by allowing just three baserunners in three innings. For the Jays, the three relievers that came on to pitch allowed one run each. This game was all about the bats, which was nice to see when there are hardly any games of that ilk these days, as seven home runs were hit by both teams.

Rangers 4, Twins 1

Elvis Andrus went 3-4 with a double, and his locked-up double-play partner Ian Kinsler smashed a home run in the seventh off of Anthony Swarzak, who allowed nine hits and four runs in seven innings (just 97 pitches).

Meanwhile, Matt Harrison notched his second win of the season by allowing just one run in eight innings for another great start for the man with a 0.64 ERA.  Alexi Ogando threw 19 pitches with a K and a hit allowed to notch his first save of the season.

Jason Willingham made his presence felt by getting on base three times in four plate appearances, and fellow offseason acquisition Ryan Doumit was the only Twin to churn out a multi-hit game.

Athletics 4, Mariners 0

Although Felix Hernandez pitched seven solid innings, he was bested by the never-aging, mystifying veteran Bartolo Colon. The former Cy Young winner also pitched seven innings, but he allowed just three hits and a walk without giving up a run. Hernandez gave up seven hits and three walks in his seven innings, but he had one more strikeout (six to five) and gave up two runs in total. The most valuable offensive contribution of the game came from Athletics No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington, who went 2-4 with a nice double in the third to score Daric Barton. He would later score in that inning off of a single from Coco Crisp (1-4, RBI, BB, K). Young leadoff hitter Jemile Weeks had the lone home run of the game; a 387 foot shot in the ninth off of Doug Fister trade acquisition Charlie Furbush.

Red Sox 12, Rays 2

Despite the 12 runs, the only home run in the game was a Ben Zobrist shot to the short right field area (381 feet) off of Mark Melancon in the ninth inning. Josh Beckett was back in form, as he allowed just five hits and a run in eight innings of action. He did, however, strike out just one batter and had 14 fly-outs to 9 grounders.

Joel Peralta allowed four earned runs without recording an out, while offseason trade acquisition Josh Lueke allowed six hits and four runs in just one inning. Wade Davis was the only Rays pitcher who pitched well, as he allowed just two hits and no runs with three strikeouts in three innings.

Although it was a huge win for the Red Sox, the most notable thing that transpired was the devastating shoulder injury to Jacoby Ellsbury. He is out indefinitely, and the should-have-been 2011 AL MVP’s absence will hurt this ballclub.

Indians 8, Royals 3

Jason Kipnis tripled, Asdrubal Cabrera homered, and Derek Lowe allowed 11 hits but just three runs in 6.2 innings in the Indians (2-4) first road game of the season. Luke Hochevar had a horrible outing for Kansas City, as he allowed nine hits and seven runs in just four innings- including a seven-inning first for Cleveland.

CF Michael Brantley (doubled), Cabrera, and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo all had two hits at the top of the order for the Indians, but the Royals actually did have four hitters have multi-hit games. One of them was No. 9 hitter and locked-up shortstop Alcides Escobar, with the lovable Jeff Francoeur being the other. Even Yuniesky Betancourt got into the act at second, and the highly-regarded Alex Gordon also had two hits.

That is to be expected when vintage, past-his-prime Derek Lowe is on the mound and giving up 10+ hits. Alex Gordon, who saw a team-high 17 pitches in the game, was the only two-hit Royal to drive in a run.

Nationals 2, Reds 1

Xavier Nady tied the game in the eighth with an incredibly clutch homer for the Nats, and Jayson Werth had the game-winning single in the 13th to score star second baseman Danny Espinosa.

Cincinnati Reds starter Bronson Arroyo actually made this a pitching duel by going 7.1 scoreless innings and allowing just three hits. He actually bested Jordan Zimmerman, as the Nationals starter went seven innings, allowed three hits, but he also gave up a run. Interestingly enough, that run was a sac fly by Arroyo to score 2B Willie Harris (1-4, 2B, R). Ryan Ludwick was the only other Reds player with an extra-base hit, but his double was his only hit in five at-bats. The Nationals Ryan, Ryan Zimmerman, also went 1-5 with a double but added a walk to that total.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6

Miguel Montero (2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, HR) and the immortal Todd Helton (3-5, 3 RBI, 2B) were locked in a great hitting duel between two NL West teams. The Diamondbacks improved to 5-2 after the narrow victory, despite an awful start from Daniel Hudson (3.2 innings, ten hits, six runs, three walks). Opposing starter Juan Nicasio was no better in his 2.2 innings of five-hit, five-walk, six-run ball. Both pitchers struck out three batters, but that’s hardly any consolation.

Justin Upton went 2-4 with two runs and a double, while Troy Tulowitzki went 3-4 with two runs and smacked a double off of Daniel Hudson. Rafael Betancourt finished with the save, Rex Brothers got the win, and Matt Belisle tossed two hitless innings for the Rockies. The D’Backs received two solid innings from Craig Breslow- the other pitcher in the Trevor Cahill trade- that were crucial, after a solid inning-and-a-third from fellow former A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler.

Marlins 5, Astros 4

Randy Choate, Heath Bell, and Ryan Webb (now 1-0) pitched the final three innings of the game for Miami without allowing a hit and had .125 WPAs each. Astros starter Lucas Harrell struggled through four innings of work, while Ricky Nolasco put in an average, two-runs-allowed-in-fve-innings performance for the Marlins. No. 3 hitter J.D. Martinez went 2-4 with two runs, two ribbies, and a homer for the Astros, and Gabby Sanchez (1-5) finished the game for the Marlins with the game-winning double in the 11th to score Chris Coghlan (2-5) in front of over 30,000 spectators at Marlins Park.

Dodgers 9, Padres 8

Andrew Cashner was charged with the loss, even though Clayton Richard had a poor outing by giving up four earned in six innings, as the Padres lost 9-8 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium. Chase Headley tied things up in the top of the ninth for the Padres with a homer, but Andre Either was walked by Joe Thatcher with the bases loaded to score Mark Ellis and win the game.

Aaron Harang allowed four runs, but he also struck out 13- including nine straight- in 6.1 innings. Todd Coffey was a solid offseason addition for the Dodgers, but he allowed two runs without recording an out. Speaking of allowing two runs, Kenley Jansen allowed two runs- but struck out three- in the ninth inning for his first blown save. However, he is now 2-0 on the season thanks to Ethier. Matt Kemp walked three times, and Headley and Ethier had three RBIs each.

Thatcher did not record an out, and his walk was charged as an earned run for Cashner; it was a four-pitch walk. Josh Lindblom had his second hold of the season by pitching a perfect inning for the Dodgers and recording a K.

Braves 10, Brewers 8

Craig Kimbrel recorded his third save of the season, Jonny Venters got the win, and the Braves overcame a rough outing from starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens by taking advantage of a nightmare performance from opposing starter Randy Wolf (4.1 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, K). K-Rod was charged with the loss for the Brew Crew after allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while recording just one out, and this was thanks to a two-RBI single from Dan Uggla (3-5, 3 RBI, R, 2B) in the eighth.

Michael Bourn went 2-4 with two runs and a triple while manning center field for the Braves, and superstar catcher Brian McCann went 4-5 with four RBIs- including a double and a homer.

Mets 5, Phillies 2

The first decision for Cliff Lee this season was a loss, as the 0-1 Phillies ace allowed four runs and two homers in seven innings of what was actually solid pitching (seven strikeouts). R.A. Dickey went seven strong and is now 2-0 after allowing just one run and one walk. Dickey did give up nine hits, but the knuckler also struck out seven. Bobby Parnell was credited with a hold after a solid inning, and Frank Francisco allowed an unearned run with three Ks in his inning of baseball.

Jason Bay had a magnificent two-run shot to score Daniel Murphy and himself in the first, and that homer was recorded at a distance of 450 feet. Freddy Galvis and Scott Hairston also homered in the game, with Lucas Duda notching a sac fly to score No. 3 hitter and third baseman Justin Turner in the ninth. The unearned run in the bottom of the ninth came from an error by- surprise, surprise- Murphy on a bad throw to first that allowed Carlos Ruiz to score and the speedy Juan Pierre to make it to first.

Giants 5, Pirates 0

Valley Fever couldn’t slow down Buster Posey, as the star catcher had the highest WPA (.147) of any hitter in this game. He gave the Giants a lead in the first that they would never relinquish after a double to center to score quality offseason acquisition Melky Cabrera (2-3, two runs). Aubrey Huff hit his first home run of the season in the eighth, and that also scored Cabrera. Fellow outfield offseason acquisition Angel Pagan went 0-4 in the leadoff spot.

However, the real story of this game was how the Giants pitching got back on track. It may be just the Pirates, but Matt Cain was still at his best on this afternoon. He notched his first win of the season by allowing just one hit and 11 strikeouts in a complete game shutout. He now has a 3.00 ERA and is looking to make good on the lucrative extension he signed with the Giants. He had a Game Score of 96, and this performance is the best of the early season and will be one of the best of the year when we look back at it in September. Cain dominated the Pirates by throwing 73 strikes in 106 pitches.

Cubs 9, Cardinals 5

The Chicago Cubs got the best of their Route 66 rivals and defending World Series champs, as Ian Stewart (game-high .179 WPA) went 1-2 with two runs, two walks, and three RBIs. The Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Colorado Rockies this offseason, and he has been incredible so far. As expected, Stewart has been back to his old self (and better) with a .538 slugging percentage in the young season thus far while with Chicago. He homered in this game, and leadoff hitter David DeJesus also scored two runs and doubled in the second off of Adam Wainwright. The value signing in right faced 21 pitches and has a .438 OBP so far (career .356 OBP).

Wainwright had a surprisingly awful game, as he lasted just three innings and allowed seven hits and eight runs in total. Former Notre Dame tight end Jeff Samardzija is now 2-0, but he was also poor and allowed ten hits and five runs in five innings.

Be sure to check out all of Call to the Pen’s transaction breakdowns for the 2011-12 offseason. You can follow Call to the Pen on Twitter at @FSCalltothePen or like us here on Facebook.

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Topics: Hiroki Kuroda, Los Angeles Angels, MLB Game Recaps, New York Yankees

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