BALTIMORE – Hiroki Kuroda was razor sharp over seven innings on Sunday for the New York Yankees, but did not figure in the decision as the Yankees lost 3-2 in the Baltimore Orioles’ final at-bat.
Kuroda allowed a run on six hits without a walk, while striking out six. The 39-year-old was masterful, painting the corners to get ahead in counts and then getting swinging strikes and poor contact on his split-fingered fastball.
“I was able to change speeds and batters eye levels using the split,” said Kuroda, who made few mistakes but pitched in tough luck. “My form was not all that great, but I managed to go seven.”
Four of the Orioles’ hits off Kuroda were from good swings on well-executed pitches, while the other two were broken-bat singles in the fifth inning. It was a night where the Yankees’ second-inning run on a Martin Prado home run looked like very safe, but it was not to be.
The Orioles scored their only run off Kuroda in the sixth. Alejandro De Aza put a good swing on a 2-2 splitter that got up over the outside corner and lined it to center for a single. With the runner going on a 1-1 count, cleanup hitter Adam Jones muscled a pitch well in on his hands over third base. Third baseman Martin Prado leaped for the ball in fair territory, but could only graze it with his glove, turning what would have been a foul ball into an RBI double.
With his first out in the third inning, Kuroda reached the 3,000 innings-pitched plateau over his professional career in Japan and the majors.
“It makes my body ache to think about it,” he said. “You can’t jump into 100 innings right off the bat and then 200. It’s something I’ve accumulated, day by day.”
Kuroda, the son of a professional ball player, began his pro career with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan’s Central League.
“When I turned pro out of university, I never imagined I’d be able to pitch like this,” he said. “You have to be grateful to those around you.”
Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless eighth for the Yankees, who took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth off Darren O’Day on a Brian McCann homer. Yankees manager Joe Girardi gambled on tired closer David Robertson in the ninth, but former Yankee Kelly Johnson ended the game with the Orioles’ third double off Robertson (2-5), with O’Day (5-1) earning the win.
Ichiro Suzuki entered the game for the Yankees as a defensive replacement but did not bat.
Tigers 6, Indians 4
In Detroit, Ian Kinsler hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Tigers reopened a 1½-game lead in the American League Central by beating Cleveland for a three-game sweep.
Kinsler’s homer off Bryan Shaw (5-5), his first since Aug. 30, followed Rajai Davis’ infield single and put the Tigers ahead 4-3.
Phil Coke (5-2) pitched a scoreless seventh for Detroit, which won for the sixth time in seven games and has its largest division lead since before play on Aug. 10.
Joe Nathan gave up his Carlos Santana’s RBI double in the ninth before getting his 32nd save.
Red Sox 8, Royals 4
In Kansas City, Missouri, Daniel Nava hit a grand slam and Xander Bogaerts added a three-run drive as Boston overcame a 4-0, third-inning deficit. Kansas City, which lost three of four to the last-place Red Sox, maintained a one-game lead over Seattle for the second AL wild card.
Jason Vargas (11-9) allowed five runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, while Joe Kelly gave up four runs and five hits in six innings.
Eric Hosmer hit a three-run homer in a four-run second off Joe Kelly (2-2) that included Omar Infante’s run-scoring grounder.
Norichika Aoki was 0-for-4 for Kansas City.
Astros 6, Angels 1
In Anaheim, California,
Dallas Keuchel (11-9) didn’t allow a hit until Mike Trout’s one-out single in the seventh as Houston ended the Angels’ 10-game winning streak, one short of the team record set in 1964.
Keuchel (11-9) wound up giving up one run and three hits in seven innings.
Hector Santiago (5-8) allowed three runs, five hits and five walks in two-plus innings and lost for the first time in 13 starts and three relief appearances since June 15.
The Angels’ AL West lead was cut to 10 games over second-place Oakland.
Athletics 4, Mariners 0
In Seattle, Sam Fuld and Brandon Moss hit solo home runs, and Jon Lester (15-10) combined with three relievers on a seven-hitter.
Oakland won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 22-23 and opened a 1½-game lead over Kansas City for the first AL wild card.
Chris Young (12-8) pitched six innings for the first time since Aug. 17, but allowed two homers in a start at Safeco Field for the first time this season.
Rangers 10, Braves 3
In Arlington, Texas, Colby Lewis (10-13) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings and Luis Sardinas doubled his career total with four RBIs as Texas completed a three-game sweep — the Rangers’ first sweep since April 21-23 in a three-game set at Oakland.
Atlanta completed a 2-7 trip and dropped four games behind Pittsburgh for the NL’s second wild card with 13 games left. Mike Minor (6-11) lost his third consecutive September start, allowing five runs and eight hits while throwing 107 pitches in 4 2-3 innings.
Rays 6, Blue Jays 5
In Toronto, Yunel Escobar riled up the crowd with an exaggerated display after a home run in the eighth and Sean Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th.
A frequent target of boos in Toronto after being suspended by the Blue Jays for writing an anti-gay slur on his eye-black in 2012, Escobar homered off the facing of the fourth deck against Todd Redmond. Escobar drew more jeers by facing the crowd and making an elaborate safe sign as he crossed home plate.
Toronto pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. connected for a tying, solo home run with two outs in the ninth off Jake McGee (5-2). Brandon Morrow (1-3) walked Wil Myers leading off the 10th.
Twins 6, White Sox 4
In Chicago, staked to an early 4-0 lead, rookie Trevor May (3-4) struck out a season-high 10 in six innings as Minnesota overcame Jose Abreu’s 35th homer to end a four-game losing streak.
Trevor Plouffe and Jordan Schafer homered for the Twins.
Hector Noesi (8-10) allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Marlins 5, Phillies 4
Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon made a lewd gesture to fans and was ejected after giving up four runs in the ninth inning during the Phillies’ 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
Papelbon grabbed his crotch as he walked to the dugout and was ejected by crew chief Joe West. He jogged out of the dugout and got into a face-to-face argument with West, who grasped the pitcher’s jersey to hold him off, and Papelbon then argued with first base umpire Marty Foster. Papelbon threw a cup of liquid on the field before leaving the dugout.
Papelbon (2-3) had converted 14 straight save chances since July 22 when he entered with a 4-1 lead in the ninth. Papelbon gave up Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s double, Kike Hernandez’s walk, Adeiny Hechavarria’s infield single, Jordany Valdespin’s RBI groundout, Christian Yelich’s run-scoring infield single and pinch-hitter Justin Bour’s tying single.
After Casey McGehee struck out, Papelbon bounced a wild pitch past catcher Carlos Ruiz as Yelich scored the go-ahead run.
Anthony DeSclafani (2-2) got the final out of the eighth. Steve Cishek allowed his first to batters to reach in the ninth, then struck out Ben Revere, Maikel Franco and Chase Utley for his 35th save.
Dodgers 4, Giants 2
In San Francisco, Clayton Kershaw (19-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out nine, taking over the big league lead in wins and lowering his majors-best ERA to 1.70. Los Angeles moved three games ahead of second-place San Francisco in the NL West.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 42nd save. Matt Kemp hit his 20th homer.
Yusmeiro Petit (5-4) gave up four runs — three earned — and eight hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none.
Nationals 3, Mets 0
In New York, Wilson Ramos hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the seventh off Jonathon Niese (8-11) as the Nationals won their ninth straight start with Jordan Zimmermann (11-5), who allowed six hits and a walk in 6 2-3 innings.
Washington reduced its magic number for winning a second division title in three years to four and eliminated the Mets from the division race.
Zimmermann (11-5) hit Eric Young Jr. and Lucas Duda; nine batters were hit in the four-game series, one shy of the record set last year in a Pirates-Reds series, according to STATS.
Pirates 7, Cubs 3
In Pittsburgh, third baseman Josh Harrison started Pittsburgh’s first triple play at home in 21 years and hit a tying two-run double in a six-run fifth against Jacob Turner (5-10).
Chicago led 3-0 and put runners on first and second in the fourth when Matt Szczur grounded to third. Harrison began a around-the-horn 5-4-3 triple play, throwing to second baseman Neil Walker, who relayed to first baseman Andrew Lambo.
Edinson Volquez (12-7) allowed three runs — one earned — four hits and five walks in seven innings. The Pirates maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee for the NL’s second wild card.
Chicago, which last won the World Series in 1908, was eliminated from postseason contention.
Cardinals 4, Rockies 1
In St. Louis, rookie Marco Gonzales (3-2) struck out nine batters in 5⅔ innings and Jhonny Peralta homered as St. Louis remained 3½ games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth for his NL-leading 44th save, giving St. Louis pitchers 16 strikeouts. Jordan Lyles (6-3) was the loser.
Brewers 9, Reds 2
In Milwaukee, Matt Clark hit a three-run homer in a five-run seventh inning, and Mark Reynolds added a solo shot in the eighth.
Matt Garza (8-8) allowed one run and four hits in six-plus innings to beat Mike Leake (11-12).
Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6
In Phoenix, Zeke Spruill (1-1) allowed one hit in three shutout innings of long relief, and Will Harris escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, striking out Rymer Liriano and pinch-hitter Tommy Medica to preserve Arizona’s 5-4 lead..
Odrisamer Despaigne (3-7) was hurt by a pair of Padres misplays in a five-run third.