Kuroda pitches Yankees to 2-0 win over Rangers
Mariano Rivera was honored on the field before his final game in Texas - and was fittingly on the mound to end it.
After getting an appropriate gift of cowboy boots from the Rangers before the game, Rivera pitched the ninth inning for the save in a 2-0 victory for the New York Yankees after Hiroki Kuroda threw seven scoreless innings Thursday.
"He's Mo. Every time I go out there and he comes in, I'm excited more so than any point in the game," said rookie catcher Austin Romine, who had a career-high three hits and scored the first run. "To catch a guy that's done it day in and day out for a long time. .... Everybody looks, everybody watches and they see how it's done."
The boots given to Rivera were inscribed with the Yankees logo, his name and No. 42. They were presented by John Wetteland, who before becoming the Rangers' career saves leader was the Yankees closer and was set up by Rivera during their 1996 World Series championship season.
Rivera was also given a cowboy hat delivered by Texas closer Joe Nathan, who had the save in last week's All-Star game after Rivera pitched the eighth.
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, baseball's strikeout king who is now the Rangers CEO, took part in the presentation of a $5,000 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation that helps needy children.
"It was wonderful," Rivera said of the recognition, though he wasn't yet ready to wear the boots.
"Mo looks good in a hat like that," manager Joe Girardi said. "It was nice who they had. ... It's a pretty special group of people that put out there with him."
With the Yankees struggling to score runs - they had only eight runs while managing to split the four-game series - they need pitching like they keep getting from Kuroda (10-6), even if wasn't convinced he had an overly impressive outing.
Kuroda scattered six hits and had three strikeouts with one walk. The right-hander threw 100 pitches on a warm day, though overcast conditions kept the temperature in the low 90s - about 10 degrees cooler than originally forecast. He is 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA in four July starts.
"I don't I had any particular pitch that was working well, and from the get-go I didn't have a good outing," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "But I think I was able to get big outs and have a decent outing."
David Robertson worked a 1-2-3 eighth before Rivera took over in the ninth. Rivera allowed an infield single before getting his 33rd save of the season to extend his career record to 641.
It was Rivera's 40th career save against Texas. In 10 playoff appearances against Texas, Rivera pitched 14 scoreless innings with five more saves, including two in both the 1998 and 1999 AL division series the Yankees swept in three games each.
It was the sixth shutout victory this season for the Yankees. Texas was held without a run for the sixth time, already one more than last season.
The Yankees led for good when Brent Lillibridge's RBI double in the sixth made it 1-0 off Derek Holland (8-6), who pitched into the eighth.
Romine led off the sixth with a double down the left-field line and moved to third on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice bunt before trotting home on the Lillibridge hit.
Holland struck out two and walked one while allowing eight hits, five of them for extra bases. The lefty was gone after a one-out double in the eighth by Robinson Cano, who scored when Eduardo Nunez reached on a fielder's choice grounder.
"I was matching Kuroda pitch for pitch. I did that for a while," Holland said. "I left a pitch up to Cano the last batter, and he got on and got in. ... Great pitcher on the other side."
• The Yankees almost had another run in the seventh but Romine's double to deep center bounced over the wall, forcing David Adams to stop at third instead of scoring before an inning-ending grounder. ... New York had the leadoff hitter on base in five of the first six innings - on four hits and a throwing error by Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre, who also had an error the previous night. Beltre hadn't had errors in consecutive games in two years. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter said he thinks he'll be ready to play when eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday. The shortstop said he felt good after running bases for the first time Thursday since going on the back on the DL on July 12 with a right quadriceps strain. ... Nunez slid about 15 feet short of second base on a double-play grounder in the third inning. Umpire Kerwin Bell even pointed out the slide mark to Texas 2B Ian Kinsler, who smoothed out some of the clumped dirt before the next pitch.
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