Former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda stymied Los Angeles last month when he faced his former team for the first time.
Earning another victory against them could be tougher for the New York Yankees right-hander opposite Clayton Kershaw.Kuroda looks to match a career high with his fourth straight winning start while Kershaw tries to win his third in a row Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.In his first start against his former team since leaving Los Angeles (57-48) after four seasons to sign with New York in 2012, Kuroda (10-6, 2.51 ERA) allowed two runs and walked one in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers on June 19."Once the game started I didn't really focus too much on who I was facing," Kuroda said after that appearance.That was Kuroda's only victory during a nine-start stretch during which he went 1-4 with a 3.60 ERA before winning three straight. During his four July starts, Kuroda has yielded two runs and walked five in 26 innings.He gave up six hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win at Texas on Thursday."I don't think I had any particular pitch that was working well, and from the get-go I didn't have a good outing," Kuroda said. "But I think I was able to get big outs and have a decent outing."In Kershaw's only appearance against the Yankees (55-51) in 2010, he yielded a two-run homer to Alex Rodriguez and three other hits without walking a batter in seven innings of an 8-6 home win.The major league ERA leader, Kershaw (10-6, 1.96) has a 1.72 ERA while winning five of six starts. The left-hander allowed a run and struck out eight in eight innings of a 2-1 win over Cincinnati on Friday."It was just typical Clayton," manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website. "He's just relentless as far as every hitter, every pitch, every inning. He just continues on. It's one of the greatest things about Clayton, he just never gives in."The NL West-leading Dodgers won for the 27th time in 33 games and second in three meetings this season against the Yankees, 3-2 on Tuesday. Mark Ellis had two hits, including the winning single with two outs in the ninth to send Los Angeles to its fifth straight interleague victory."They're playing real well and we knew that coming in," Yankees starter Andy Pettitte said. "So they've got a lot to be excited about right now. It would have been nice to come in here and be able to get this first game. But they're hot."With two more hits and a run driven in, Hanley Ramirez is batting .375 with 10 RBIs during his 11-game hitting streak. He's 7 for 21 with two doubles against Kuroda.New York opened an eight-game trip by recording five hits while losing for the ninth time in 13 contests. Lyle Overbay homered and drove in both runs for the Yankees."We've had some tough losses in the second half but we're going to bounce back (Wednesday)," manager Joe Girardi said.Derek Jeter went 0 for 4 after he homered and had two hits Sunday in his return from missing 2 1/2 weeks with a quad injury.
From Elias: Yasiel Puig has 71 hits and 10 homers in 49 major league games (entering Wednesday).
The last player with at least 70 hits and 10 homers in his first 50 games in the majors was Joe DiMaggio in 1936 (87 hits, 10 homers).
From Elias: Clayton Kershaw is the 5th pitcher in the last 40 seasons to have a sub-2.00 ERA and 150+ K through the end of July. The previous 4 won the Cy Young.