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LAA@NYY: Kuroda picks up his first win with Yankees

April has been surprisingly pleasant for the Orioles, as they sit six games above .500 for the first time since 2005 and -- pending the results of Monday's games -- could finish the month atop the American League East.

Before they shut the door on the season's first month, though, they have one remaining game as they open a three-game set in New York against the Yankees on Monday.

In sweeping the O's earlier this month, the Yanks handed them nearly half of their total losses and jumped out to an early lead in the head-to-head battle. Baltimore hasn't defeated New York in a season series since 1997, which also marks the last time the Orioles captured a division title.

Right-hander Jason Hammel will take the mound for the Orioles in the opener as he looks to remain unbeaten. Hammel has been lights-out, posting a 3-0 record with a 1.73 ERA over his first four starts, while striking out 25 batters in 26 innings.

"For a long time, it took me a while to build confidence," said Hammel, who has never recorded a sub-4.00 ERA in his six previous seasons. "I got hit around a bit. Only when I started to care about being a pitcher did my confidence go up. Obviously, the results are showing it. I know what I need to do to be successful -- use my fielders to make the plays and just continue to make the pitches."

Contrary to Hammel, Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda has never posted a season with an ERA higher than 4.00, yet he'll take the mound Monday sporting a 4.38 mark. Kuroda has been up-and-down in his first season in the AL, alternating quality starts with disastrous ones.

Kuroda allowed six runs in his Yankees debut, followed it up with eight scoreless innings his next time out, only to allow six more runs in his next outing. Most recently, he was a hard-luck loser Tuesday against the Rangers when he allowed just two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-0 loss.

"I was disappointed that I didn't get a win, but I tried my best and tried to keep the game close," Kuroda said after falling to 1-3. "Hopefully, the next time I pitch, I will get a win."

Orioles: Reimold looks to continue hit streak
Nolan Reimold went hitless in four at-bats on Opening Day, but hasn't been held without a hit in a game since. The left fielder extended his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games with his 1-for-4 performance Sunday.

Reimold is hitting .356 with five home runs and 10 RBIs during the streak.

Yankees: Garcia relegated to 'pen
Freddy Garcia had watched his ERA increase following each of his four starts this season and -- after another rough outing Saturday -- the right-hander has been moved out of the rotation.

The 35-year-old Garcia retired just five batters for the second consecutive start Saturday, allowing six earned runs to raise his season ERA to 12.51. Through four starts, Garcia conceded 19 earned runs and 25 hits in just 13 2/3 innings of work.

"When you're pitching [poorly] out of the rotation, what do you expect?" Garcia said. "When you don't do your job, what are they supposed to do? That's what happened. They're honest. I didn't pitch the way I was supposed to pitch. It's reality."

For now, the Yankees will call on rookie David Phelps to take Garcia's place. Phelps has posted a 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings of relief this season.

Worth noting
• Orioles manager Buck Showalter is one win shy of 1,000 for his career.

• Baltimore has won 57 straight games in which it holds the opponent to two or fewer runs.

• Alex Rodriguez is 6-for-14 with four home runs in his career against Hammel. Rodriguez is the only player with four or more homers against the right-hander.

• The Yankees have posted double-digit win totals against the Orioles in 14 individual seasons since 1982. The '82 season was the last in which Baltimore accomplished such a feat against the Yanks. Comments