NEW YORK (AP) - Hiroki Kuroda raised his pitching hand to block Shane Victorino's line drive. Four batters later, Kuroda was out of the game.
Another injury for the New York Yankees. And another loss, too.
``It's not unusual to lose two games in a row. It becomes somewhat glaring when it's the first two,' New York manager Joe Girardi said after Wednesday's 7-4 defeat against the Boston Red Sox. ``We didn't get off to a good start last year and that worked out OK.'
Kuroda, New York's most dependable starting pitcher last year at 16-11, allowed three singles in the first inning and fell behind on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's hit.
Kuroda was checked by the Yankees after Victorino's single smacked the middle finger of his right hand starting the second, then hit rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. with a pitch in the lower leg. One out later, Kuroda walked Jacoby Ellsbury on four pitches and forced in a run by hitting Daniel Nava in the lower leg.
Girardi went to the mound along with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, trainer Steve Donohue and an interpreter - allowed for the first time under a rules change this year.
``Against the lefties I was unable to make my pitches,' Kuroda said through a translator. ``I wasn't able to put my strength on the ball.'
Kuroda (0-1) left after 1 1-3 innings, the shortest start of his five big league seasons. X-rays and a CT scan were negative.
``There's no swelling, Scan was good,' he said. ``I'll see the doctor again tomorrow and we'll see how it goes.'
New York already has five All-Stars on the disabled list: shortstop Derek Jeter, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, first baseman Mark Teixeira, outfielder Curtis Granderson and pitcher Phil Hughes.
While the Red Sox under new manager John Farrell are off to their best start since going 5-0 in 1999, New York has been outscored 15-6 and outhit 26-15. The Yankees have failed to hold a lead at any point in their opening two games for the first time since 1998.
Clay Buchholz (1-0) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked two, and the Red Sox backed him with a 6-0 lead in the third by scoring five runs with two outs. Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth for his first save for Boston, off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 1999.
``Definitely a big confidence booster,' Buchholz said.
The crowd of 40,216 was the smallest for a Red Sox-Yankees game in the Bronx since 27,631 were across the street at the old ballpark on May 27, 1999, according to STATS. And for the second straight game, the stadium was nearly empty in the late innings.
``It's what it's all about,' Red Sox right fielder Victorino explained. ``It's about getting out there and scoring early and getting them out of there.'
Ellsbury drove in two runs for the Red Sox, and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI single up the middle in the third for his first major league hit.
Before the first pitch, the Yankee Stadium sound system played Foreigner's ``Hot Blooded.' But it was 43 degrees at game time, and Boston shortstop Jose Iglesias and first baseman Mike Napoli wore ski masks.
Run-scoring singles by Victorino and Bradley off Cody Eppley made it 4-0 in the third, and Iglesias' double chased Eppley. Ellsbury greeted Adam Warren with a two-run single.
Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells hit their first home runs for the Yankees, a solo drive by Hafner in the fourth and a three-run drive by Wells in the eighth against Alfredo Aceves.
It wasn't enough for the Yankees, who have lost seven straight games since Jeter broke an ankle in the AL championship series opener.
``We haven't played good enough baseball to win yet,' Wells said. ``That's the bottom line.'
NOTES: RHP Ryan Dempster makes his Red Sox debut in Thursday's series finale, and LHP Andy Pettitte starts for the Yankees. ... The cover of The New Yorker dated April 8 features an illustration of the Yankees by Mark Ulriksen with Andy Pettitte on crutches, Rodriguez in a wheelchair, Mariano Rivera and Jeter using walkers, Ichiro Suzuki with a cane and Teixeira with an arm in a sling. At 31 years, 138 days, the Yankees had the oldest average age on opening day, according to STATS. Tampa Bay was second at 30-290. ... Ben Francisco, Hafner, Shawn Kelley, Lyle Overbay, Wells and Kevin Youkilis made their Yankees' debuts Monday, the most in a game for the franchise since the transformed Baltimore Orioles began play as the New York Highlanders on April 22, 1903. ... When Yankees C Chris Stewart tumbled over the rail into the Boston dugout after grabbing Victorino's foul pop in the seventh, Dustin Pedroia rushed over to keep him from falling.
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