Hiroki Kuroda is expected to bring some consistency to the No. 2 spot in the Yankees rotation, but his debut was not encouraging. Kuroda struggled through an 8-6 loss to the Rays. It was the Yankees second straight loss to start the season, and they’ll need a win tomorrow night to avoid a season-opening sweep. Kuroda allowed six runs — four earned — on eight hits and four walks through 5.2 innings. The two unearned runs came in an inning when Eduardo Nunez made an error, but Kuroda also walked back-to-back batters. It didn’t help matters when Joe Girardi let lefty specialist Clay Rapada face five batters — two of them right-handers — in a two-run seventh. Rapada got only one out and nearly gave up a two-run homer to Evan Longoria (it was ruled a double on fan interference, and the two runs scored a batter later on a bloop single by Matt Joyce). Nick Swisher’s three-run homer in the ninth was too little, too late.
Associated Press photo