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Miller gets hit hard early, Cardinals can't recover in 7-4 loss to Yankees

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ST. LOUIS - Shelby Miller opened with two scoreless innings. The next two innings were so rough the 23-year-old right-hander wondered if he had been tipping his pitches.

"I don't know. Just a tough start," Miller said after the worst statistical outing of his career in the St. Louis Cardinals' 7-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night. "It seemed that especially in the third it was hit after hit.

"It kind of got away right there."

Hiroki Kuroda snapped an 11-start road winless streak and Jacoby Ellsbury helped build the early lead with three hits and three RBIs his first three at-bats.

John Ryan Murphy added two RBIs for the Yankees, who took two of three without an appearance from Mark Teixeira, nursing a sore wrist, and wrapped up a 5-4 trip. Catcher Brian McCann made his first career start at first base in the finale.

Miller (6-4) allowed a career-worst seven runs and nine hits in five innings and left trailing 7-0. Seven of the hits and all of the runs came in the third and fourth.

"You just didn't see a lot of bad swings," manager Mike Matheny said. "I really don't have a good explanation; I don't think he does, either, at this point."

Ellsbury stole second without a throw in the third and had a wild pitch in the fourth.

"It was a slower move to the plate and sometimes that's the natural reaction when you start giving up a lot of runs," Matheny said. "Your mind's on 'I've got to make good pitches here because I'm getting beat.'"

Kolten Wong had a career-best four hits and an RBI, Matt Carpenter doubled twice with an RBI and Yadier Molina had two hits and two walks, but the Cardinals stranded 13 runners.

Derek Jeter didn't play in the finale but made a curtain call before the seventh inning after the scoreboard camera focused on him in the dugout and fans responded with another standing ovation.

Kuroda (4-3) allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings for his first road victory since last July 25 at Texas. He had been 0-7 since then, the longest drought of his career but is 1-1 away from Yankee Stadium this year.

Miller had won five of his previous six starts but has lasted fewer than six innings seven times in his 11 starts. Frequently, they jumped on the first pitch.

"His last outing was pretty good, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves," Matheny said. "He's got to get back to work."

Ellsbury had an RBI single in the third as five straight Yankees reached safely, and added a two-run single in the fourth. Murphy had a two-run single in the fourth.

The Cardinals stranded two in the second and left the bases loaded in the third when Molina popped out to second. Kuroda has allowed just one extra-base hit with the bases loaded in 65 career plate appearances, limiting opponents to 14 hits in 57 at-bats with a double.

St. Louis chipped away with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth and Wong's RBI single off David Robertson in the eighth cut the deficit to three. The first two Cardinals reached in the ninth before Robertson struck out the next three, including pinch-hitter Matt Adams, to earn his 12th save in 13 chances.

NOTES: All three games were sellouts. Paid attendance of 45,267 in the finale was the Cardinals' 13th in 24 home dates. ... Adams did not start at 1B due to calf tightness and Matheny wasn't sure whether he'd be able to start Thursday. ... The Yankees have a day off Thursday before beginning a seven-game homestand against the Twins, Mariners and A's. Vidal Nuno (1-1, 5.49) starts Friday against Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco (2-5, 6.12). The Cardinals open a four-game series at home against the Giants Thursday, with Jaime Garcia (1-0, 4.26) opposing Ryan Vogelsong (3-2, 3.20). ... Matt Holliday singled in the third and has reached base safely in all 24 home games. ... The Yankees are 6-3 overall against St. Louis.

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