It was a day of many firsts for manager Don Mattingly and the Dodgers on Wednesday at the Stadium, but it was Hiroki Kuroda who earned the victory in his first career start against his former team.
Kuroda navigated his way through 6-2/3 innings of two-run ball — and Ichiro Suzuki ripped a key home run and drove in three — as the Yanks held on in the afternoon portion of a separate-admission doubleheader for a 6-4 win in the Dodgers’ first regular-season game in the Bronx in their history, and their first appearance here since Game 6 of the 1981 World Series.
The game also featured the Bronx debut of Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, and the Cuban sensation had the crowd buzzing throughout, including being struck out looking by Yanks closer Mariano Rivera for the final out.
Kuroda, making his first career start against the team he pitched for from 2008-2011, scattered eight hits and took a shutout into the seventh, when the Dodgers scored twice to shave the Yanks’ lead to 3-2. Kuroda improved to 8-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 13 daytime starts as a Yankee over the past two seasons.
Ichiro provided the Yanks’ third run with a leadoff shot to right against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in the sixth, his first homer in 115 at-bats since May 10. Ichiro went 3-4 with 3 RBIs.