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MIN@NYY: Girardi talks about Kuroda, loss to Twins

NEW YORK -- Hiroki Kuroda's encore in the Big Apple will not draw the same rave reviews as his debut.

The right-hander's second start in Yankee Stadium was a brief one -- he lasted 4 1/3 innings, and was responsible for 10 of Minnesota's 13 hits and all six of the Twins' runs -- and he took the losing decision in the Yankees' 6-5 defeat on Wednesday night.

Kuroda, who was acquired this winter after spending the last four seasons in the National League with the Dodgers, was cheered emphatically by Yankees fans last Friday when he tossed eight shutout innings against the Angels. Wednesday, those same fans booed Kuroda when he endured a rough four-run first inning.

"They were really aggressive," Kuroda said of Minnesota's lineup. "And before I was able to get into my rhythm, they were really aggressive and hit a lot of balls early in the count."

Twins slugger Justin Morneau tagged Kuroda for two homers, the second one knocking the Yankees starter out of the game in the fifth. Minnesota, which entered the series with a 5-28 mark in the Bronx since 2002, has won two of the first three games in the series.

"I think we were just trying to be aggressive," Morneau said. "[Kuroda] was great his last time out. But guys came out with runners on base and got big hits. Hitting is contagious, as they say, and it started at the top, and we got rolling."

Kuroda's struggles were out of the gates in the first, when he allowed hits to the first three Twins' hitters, each of whom came around to score. Morneau's first blast of the night -- a two-run shot to right-center field -- made it 4-0.

But the Yankees made up ground quickly in the bottom half of the inning, tallying three runs on four hits off Twins starter Jason Marquis. Derek Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson walked to open the frame, before Robinson Cano doubled in a run and Nick Swisher drove in two more. Swisher leads the team with 13 RBIs this year.

Minnesota's Sean Burroughs had an RBI single in the third, before Cano hit a solo homer -- his first long ball of the year -- in the bottom of the inning. Morneau's second home run came with one out in the fifth, upping the margin to 6-4 and prompting a call to the Yankees' bullpen.

"Not hitting your spots," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, describing Kuroda's troubles Wednesday. "Just not making the quality pitch. Because at any point, you give up a base hit if you don't make a quality pitch, and he just didn't seem to have it from the get-go."

The Yankees stranded two men in the seventh, and showed life in the ninth when Jeter hit a one-out solo homer to cut the Minnesota lead to one. With two outs, Mark Teixeira just missed on a 2-2 fastball from Matt Capps, flying out to right to end the game.

"Just got under it, just a little bit," Teixeira said afterward. "A hair lower and we're still playing right now."

Marquis, making his first career start for Minnesota, earned the victory after allowing four earned runs on seven hits in five innings.

Minnesota's Joe Mauer, 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI on Wednesday, is now 17-for-50 (.340) with three homers and 10 RBIs in 13 career games at Yankee Stadium. Morneau is 22-for-46 (.478) with five doubles, seven homers, 10 RBIs and eight multihit games in 12 career contests at the new ballpark.

Yankees catcher Russell Martin said Kuroda left too many pitches up over the plate, and everyone in the Yankees' clubhouse agreed that the right-hander couldn't execute his bread-and-butter pitch -- his sinker.

"In the past outings, I was able to go to other pitches and make adjustments," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "I tried many things today, but wasn't able to make those adjustments." Comments