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Yanks' struggles continue in rain-shortened loss

Kuroda surrenders three runs; play vs. Sox halted after top of sixth

NEW YORK -- An epic lightning flash transformed the Bronx evening into broad daylight for a split second, and on both benches at Yankee Stadium, an accompanying thunderclap prompted players to instinctively leap with fear for their safety.

After three rain delays, that was the moment that the Yankees realized they probably wouldn't be coming back onto the field Sunday night. The final score stands as it did in the home half of the sixth inning, crediting the Red Sox with a 3-0 victory.

"That was the loudest thing I've ever seen; the brightest thing," catcher Austin Romine said. "It was daytime for a second. It kind of scared us all. I think [Brett] Gardner jumped in my lap. We took off and we were out of there."

The loss was New York's seventh in eight games, coming on an evening in which Jose Iglesias and David Ortiz homered off Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees managed just two hits against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

Ichiro Suzuki and Romine had the only hits for the Yanks, who were unable to move a runner past first base and fell to third place and three games back of their rivals. The Yankees have been held to one run or less in five of their last seven contests.

"I think that's part of baseball," designated hitter Travis Hafner said. "You'll have ups and downs throughout the year, but there's just too much talent here and it's just a matter of time before things get rolling again."

Play was suspended for good at 11:25 p.m. ET with the Yankees about to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, one half inning after Ortiz launched a tape-measure solo blast into the right-field bleachers off Kuroda, flipping his bat at home plate.

There were earlier stoppages as well, including a phantom 45-minute delay before the first pitch that had no rain. The umpiring crew also halted play at 10:44 p.m. and resumed 37 minutes later, only to call for the tarpaulin again four minutes later after the completion of the top of the sixth.

"We were going to try to go as quick as we could," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's why we went and played those two outs [in the sixth], but we got hit pretty quick."

Romine said that the Yankees couldn't complain about any of the delays.

"I'm not a weatherman, so I'm not going to try and predict anything," Romine said. "We're just trying to get the game in. We started when we started, and unfortunately the rain came down hard."

The Yankees were blanked through five innings by Buchholz, who made his first start since May 22 and held New York to just two singles and a walk in a 71-pitch outing.

"The last couple, three innings that he threw were as sharp as he's been all season," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "It looked like he could go to any single pitch in any given situation. He kept them being tentative to a point, not sure which pitch was going to come in which sequence."

Boston took the weekend series, two games to one, as Kuroda was handed his second loss in his last three outings. Kuroda permitted eight hits, walking none and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings.

"The opposing pitcher is obviously a good pitcher, so I was trying to minimize the damage," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "It didn't turn out that way."

Dustin Pedroia singled and scored the first Red Sox run against Kuroda in the fourth inning, coming home on Mike Napoli's fielder's-choice grounder to shortstop.

Iglesias led off the fifth inning with a line-drive shot to left field, his first homer of the season, and Big Papi posed after unloading on his 10th homer of the season to begin the sixth.

"I was trying to go up and in, but it ended up in the middle part of the plate," Kuroda said.

The Yankees did not complain about Ortiz's pose at the plate; they've seen it plenty over the years, though they could be forgiven if they were a bit jealous.

New York hasn't had an extra-base hit in its last 20 innings of play, since Vernon Wells' double in the second inning on Friday.

"It's just kind of a team-wide thing that we're going through," Girardi said. "I mean, we ran into a pretty good pitcher tonight. That's the bottom line. He threw the ball very well against us. We're not the first team that he's done that against this year."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
Read More: New York Yankees, Hiroki Kuroda