Joe Girardi was in a good mood following Tuesday night’s win over the Twins, but his joy had as much to do with something that happened 1,200 miles away.

Hiroki Kuroda was sent back to New York for tests after reporting soreness in his left hip flexor following Sunday’s start in Baltimore. An MRI revealed no damage, and although Ivan Nova will take Kuroda’s start on Friday, Girardi said Kuroda will be slotted back into the rotation as soon as he says he’s ready.

“That’s what you want is a clean MRI,” Girardi said. “He was a little tender after the game on Sunday, so it’s good news. He said he felt better today. That’s the best news we could have got.”

Kuroda’s injury scare was a major topic after the Yankees’ 7-3 win, their second victory in a row over the Twins at Target Field. But there was plenty to like about what happened on the field, too.

Phil Hughes posted another strong start, Robinson Cano’s bat remained red-hot and Alberto Gonzalez provided some unlikely offensive heroics. The Twins put the tying run on deck in the ninth, but Mariano Rivera needed only two pitches to record the final out for his 27th save.

“It’s great to see,” Girardi said. “As we’ve talked about, it has to come from everybody to be successful and put together good streaks.”
Gonzalez’s two-run double sparked a three-run third inning, erasing an early Twins edge and handing Hughes a lead he would never relinquish. Gonzalez finished the night with three RBI.