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Kuroda Better Than Santana As Yanks Take Subway Series Game 1

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08: Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first-inning against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on June 8, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.Yankees defeated the Rays 7-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 08: Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first-inning against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on June 8, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.Yankees defeated the Rays 7-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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By HOWIE RUMBERG
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Robinson Cano was not going to risk facing Johan
Santana’s wicked changeup, so he swung at the first two pitches he
saw from the Mets’ ace.

Good plan.

Cano homered on each of his first two swings against the
two-time Cy Young Award winner and the New York Yankees hit four
long balls off an ineffective Santana in a 9-1 rout of the Mets on
Friday night.

Cano’s second shot was the first of three straight homers off
Santana, who was coming off a no-hitter against St. Louis.

“That’s a guy you want to go and be aggressive because you
don’t want to get behind the count,” Cano said. “He’s got some
great pitches.”

In the first Subway Series game of the season, Hiroki Kuroda
allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings before leaving with a
bruised left foot. Kuroda (5-6) gave up only a two-out double in
the sixth to Omar Quintanilla but ended the night hopping out of
the clubhouse on crutches.

Kuroda’s first appearance in the crosstown rivalry was cut short
when Daniel Murphy scorched a liner off the pitcher’s foot,
eliciting “oohs” from the crowd of 48,566 _ just the second
sellout at Yankee Stadium this season. The ball popped up high and
was caught by third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the final out of the
seventh.

Kuroda limped off the field and down into the clubhouse,
followed by several teammates and trainers. Yankees manager Joe
Girardi wasn’t sure whether Kuroda will make his next start.

“I think any time you get hit in the foot like that you have to
be somewhat concerned,” Girardi said.

Cody Eppley worked the eighth and former Mets reliever Ryota
Igarashi gave up an RBI double to Lucas Duda in the ninth in his
Yankees debut before finishing the two-hitter.

Santana (3-3) was given two extra days of rest after throwing a
career-high 134 pitches last Friday in the first no-hitter in Mets
history. But he didn’t have it this time, serving up a career-high
four homers during New York’s fourth loss in five games

“A couple of extra days and I felt fine,” Santana said. “I
just didn’t have my feeling for a couple of my pitches. There were
times when they stayed up and when you leave pitches up, you know,
they’re a pretty good team and in this ballpark, you keep pitches
up, they end up out of the park, and that’s what happened.”

Mets manager Terry Collins had a different take on Santana’s
performance. He blamed himself, saying the two extra days between
starts left Santana rusty.

“It’s my doing, it’s not his,” Collins said. “We erred on the
side of caution and it cost us the game tonight.”

Santana is 0-3 with a 12.21 ERA in three starts at the new
Yankee Stadium. The Mets fell to 35-50 against their crosstown
rivals during the regular season.

After a perfect first inning, Santana walked Rodriguez to start
the second, his last two pitches missing badly. Cano lined the next
pitch into the right-field seats for the first runs off Santana
since May 21, three starts ago. He had a scoreless streak of 19
innings.

Rodriguez singled with two outs in the third. Cano then set off
a barrage of long balls in an 11-pitch span with a drive into the
second deck in right, again on a first pitch, for his eighth
multihomer game.

Nick Swisher followed with a liner to left field and Andruw
Jones hit a high-arcing drive to left for a 6-0 lead. It was the
first time Santana allowed three homers in a row.

Cano had two tries for a third homer but popped out and grounded
out.

There was no need to worry about a pitch count for Santana. He
was lifted after five innings, having allowed six runs and seven
hits. He threw 86 pitches.

Kuroda had a poor history against the Mets, going 1-5 with a
5.75 ERA against them with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This time he had the Mets flailing at a slider that fooled
lefties and righties. There wasn’t a hard-hit ball until
Quintanilla’s double. The most difficult play until then came after
Josh Thole reached on Derek Jeter’s error at shortstop. David
Wright broke his bat near the handle, sending much of it spiraling
toward Rodriguez, while hitting a grounder to third. A-Rod calmly
fielded the ball and started a double play as the bat soared over
his head.

As Kuroda worked his way through the Mets’ lineup, Girardi
started thinking the right-hander might be able to give New York a
no-hitter for a second straight Friday.

“With what Santana did last week you kind of thought, maybe
this could happen here,” Girardi said.

Kuroda has made three solid starts in a row, giving up just two
runs in 22 innings. This time he struck out seven and walked one.
Swisher had an RBI double and Jones a run-scoring single in a
three-run seventh.

NOTES: Jason Bay went 0 for 3 in his return to the Mets’ lineup.
He had not played since April 23 because of a broken rib. … The
previous time the Yankees hit back-to-back-to-back homers was Aug.
28 at Baltimore. … Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain threw off a
mound for the first time since hurting his ankle jumping on a
trampoline in March. Chamberlain made 25 throws in a batting cage
at the team’s minor league complex in Tampa, Fla. Chamberlain, also
coming off Tommy John surgery, has no doubt he will pitch this
season. “Is that even a question?” he said.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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