Former Yankees, Dodgers pitcher Kuroda wins in Japan comeback

Hiroki Kuroda won 38 games for the Yankees over the previous three seasons.

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Former New York Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda won his first game in his return to Japanese baseball on Sunday.

Kuroda struck out five while giving up five hits and walking one batter over seven scoreless innings as the Hiroshima Carp beat the Yakult Swallows 2-1.

”It was a tight game so I just tried to be patient and wait for a little run support,” said the 40-year-old Kuroda, who threw 96 pitches and left the game with a 1-0 lead.

Kuroda signed a one-year contract worth $3.3 million in the offseason. He pitched for Hiroshima from 1997-2007 and then spent four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers before moving to the Yankees.

Last season, Kuroda was 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA with New York. He was 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA in 1,319 career major-league innings and was one of the most durable starters in the Yankees’ rotation over the past three seasons.

Kuroda was the ace of the Hiroshima staff before leaving for the States, going 103-89 during his 11 seasons.

With a 2-0 lead, Hiroshima reliever Ryuji Ichioka gave up a run in the eighth before former major leaguer Deunte Heath retired the side in the ninth for the save.