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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 18th (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (10-6) at Tampa Bay Rays (7-9), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Hiroki Kuroda (2-1, 3.86) Tampa Bay - Erik Bedard (0-0, 0.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Hiroki Kuroda eyes his third straight win on Friday when the New York Yankees continue a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
After losing his first start of the year, Kuroda has bounced back with consecutive winning efforts and is pitching to a 3.86 ERA on the year. He wasn't particularly sharp on Saturday, but got the win over the Boston Red Sox nonetheless, as he held the champs to four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"Even though I got the win, because I couldn't finish that inning, I feel a little frustrated," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "Overall, it wasn't sharp."
Kuroda has faced the Rays five times and is 2-3 against them with a 7.36 ERA.
Tampa, meanwhile, turns to veteran lefty Erik Bedard, who will take the place of the injured Alex Cobb. The 35-year-old Bedard pitched to a 4.59 ERA last season over 32 appearances (26 starts) with the Houston Astros.
The Rays signed him to a minor league deal in February, but released him after an awful showing in the spring. However, they re-signed him at the end of March to pitch at Triple-A Durham. He gave up one run in four innings and struck out five in his only start with the Bulls.
New York won the opener of this set on Thursday, as CC Sabathia turned in seven sharp innings in his best start of the young season, and received plenty of support from his Yankees teammates in a 10-2 rout.
Six of the Yankees' nine starters collected multiple hits and New York totaled 16 overall in its fifth consecutive win. Yangervis Solarte, Brian Roberts, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury each knocked in two runs during the rout, with Solarte, Roberts and Alfonso Soriano each finishing 3-for-5.
Soriano and McCann also clubbed back-to-back homers off David Price (2-1), part of six runs and 10 hits that the Tampa Bay ace allowed over five shaky innings. Solarte added a two-run blast in the ninth.
After posting a subpar 6.63 ERA over his first three outings, Sabathia (2-2) held the Rays to two runs -- one earned -- and struck out six in a solid showing that was aided by a triple play in the second inning.
"Just tried to make a pitch to get a double play and Solarte made a great play and even (Scott) Sizemore made an even better play on the pick at first," Sabathia said of the triple play.
Sean Rodriguez had a solo homer in the loss, the Rays' fourth in a row, with Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar each recording two hits.
Tampa was 12-7 against the Yanks last season, shutting them out four times.
04/18 10:21:58 ET
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