The Orioles entered this game with a real challenge tonight, facing New York right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. He shut out the O’s on five hits and 113 pitches April 14 at New York, giving up just one hit to the last 17 batters he faced that night.
Kuroda is 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA on the year. He ranks second in the AL in ERA, and he’s tied for fourth in wins and WHIP at 0.95.
Over his last four starts, he has pitched to an ERA of 1.21 and, in three career starts previously against the O’s, he is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA.
None of that seemed to scare off O’s hitters tonight, as they homered twice in the last of the first to take an early 3-0 lead. With two outs, Nick Markakis hit one out to right for his fourth homer. After a single by Adam Jones, Chris Davis hit another homer. This two-run shot made it 3-0 Orioles. That was his 14th homer.
Coming into this start tonight, Kuroda had allowed just three homers all year in nine starts, covering 58 2/3 innings and against 230 batters. Then, the O’s got two off him in one inning.
Some other Orioles and Yankees notes:
* The Orioles and Yankees have gone into extra innings in both games of the series, with each team winning once. Counting the postseason, the teams have gone into extra innings four times in their last eight meetings with each team winning twice. Since the start of 2012, the Orioles are 2-4 in extra innings against New York (including the postseason) and 19-2 against the rest of baseball.
By the way, the Orioles and Yankees have never played three straight extra-inning games against each other.
* Machado is currently fourth in the major leagues with 62 hits behind Miguel Cabrera with 69 and Joey Votto and Alex Gordon with 63 each.
* Even with losing six in a row before last night’s win, the Orioles still have the best winning percentage in baseball since July 29 (.613, 65-41)
* Tonight, the Orioles are shooting to get their fourth straight quality start. Over the last three games, O’s starters have allowed seven earned runs and 13 hits over 19 innings for an ERA of 3.32.
* The Orioles are now 10-12 at home and 10-10 vs. the AL East.
Update: The Orioles lead 6-1 after three innings. Matt Wieters greeted reliever Preston Claiborne with a three-run homer in the last of the third. The first two batters reached that inning before Kuroda left the game. It was an early exit and may well have been related to the comebacker he took off his right calf in the last of the second.
Kuroda tonight vs. O’s: 2 IP, 8 hits, 5 R-ER, 0 BB, 0 Ks, 2 HRs
Kuroda on April 14 vs. O’s: 9 IP, 5 hits, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 Ks
By the way, the Orioles have hit three homers tonight, which makes seven in this series. They have now hit 17 over their last nine games.