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Kuroda finishes strong in loss to Phils


TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda opened Saturday's game against the Phillies with three strong innings. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't finished.

Locked in a scoreless tie in the fourth, Philadelphia posted a four-run frame against Kuroda to jump start a 7-0 victory at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Chase Utley drew a one-out walk in the fourth and moved to third when Ryan Howard reached on an error by second baseman Gil Velazquez. In stepped Domonic Brown, who drilled his fourth home run of the spring deep into the right-field stands. Jermaine Mitchell added a two-out triple and scored on a single by Yuniesky Betancourt to make it 4-0.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel enjoyed Brown's overall performance, which included a diving catch in left field.

"He's definitely gotten better in the outfield, and his hitting is real good," Manuel said. "He's got good balance at the plate. He's lowered his hands some, and he's catching the ball at an angle out front. That's when his power plays for him."

Kuroda finished on a positive note, setting the Phillies down in order in the fifth and stranding runners on second and third in the sixth.

"We got six innings out of it, but he threw the ball really well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Mariano Rivera replaced Kuroda in the seventh and promptly walked Steven Lerud, who homered in a three-run ninth. Rivera wrapped up his day by getting Ben Revere to hit into a double play and striking out Michael Young.

Lerud is the only batter to reach base against the vaunted Yankees closer in his three appearances this spring.

"I was kind of rushing today," Rivera said.

Girardi noticed.

"He got a couple of three-ball counts and actually threw a ball in the dirt," Girardi said. "He's just a little rusty."

Phillies starter Raul Valdes went three innings to pick up the win. One of the three hits the left-hander allowed was an opposite-field double in the first by Derek Jeter, who played four innings while starting at shortstop on consecutive days for the first time this spring.

Manuel was pleased with Valdes.

"He did a good job. Threw strikes. Good command. Used all his pitches," Manuel said.

Yankees right fielder Brennan Boesch, who was acquired as a free agent on Friday, went 0-for-3 in his debut.

"I like the atmosphere so far, but it's the first day. It went by pretty quick," said Boesch, who was released by the Tigers on Wednesday.

"This is a guy that played pretty well with Detroit the year that he was considered for the All-Star Game at the halfway point," Girardi said. "The young man's got a lot of opportunity, and we hope he's going to be a good fit."

Up next: On Sunday, Ivan Nova will get the ball first when New York visits the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET (listen on Gameday Audio). The right-hander has allowed only one run in nine innings over three spring starts. He has five strikeouts and only one walk.

Bob Bellone is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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