Kuroda gets work in as Yanks blanked by Rays
Newcomer goes two innings; offense held to four hits
TAMPA, Fla. -- Stephen Vogt's two-run triple highlighted the attack as the Rays touched up Hiroki Kuroda in his first outing in a Yankees uniform, and Tampa Bay held on to post a 4-0 Grapefruit League victory on Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Vogt drove in Matt Joyce and Jeff Keppinger with his second-inning shot down the right-field line, and Jose Molina added a run-scoring groundout in Tampa Bay's three-run frame.
Kuroda, 37, signed a one-year, $10 million contract with New York in January after previously pitching with the Dodgers, and is one of two pitchers that manager Joe Girardi has guaranteed a rotation spot to, along with Opening Day starter CC Sabathia. Kuroda allowed three hits in two innings, walking none and striking out two.
"The most important thing I wanted to accomplish was the feeling for the real game," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "I think I was able to do that, so I'm happy."
Rays right-hander James Shields had a perfect two-inning start, striking out Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano in his first frame. Right-handers Burke Badenhop and Josh Lueke each turned in two innings of scoreless ball to follow Shields.
"I felt good, felt really good," Shields said. "It felt kind of weird the first couple pitches, but that's just a normal first game of Spring Training. Other than that, it was good."
Rafael Soriano, beginning his second season with the Yankees after leading the American League in saves for the Rays in 2010, evaded trouble in a bumpy third inning. Soriano allowed a hit, a walk and a double steal before Cano's sharp defensive play on a Keppinger ground ball saved two runs.
Keppinger singled in the sixth inning for his second hit of the day, and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly to right field by Jesus Feliciano. The sac fly resulted in a double play after Vogt was caught trying to tag up from second to third on the play.
Up next: The Yankees will visit the Blue Jays on Thursday for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest in Dunedin, Fla. Right-hander Ivan Nova makes his second turn in the rotation, opposed by Toronto right-hander Brett Cecil. David Robertson and Dellin Betances are among those also scheduled to pitch for New York, with a lineup set to feature Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Raul Ibanez.