After a game where Dewayne Wise was the Yankees' most effective pitcher and a week that saw two starting pitchers dropped by injury, Joe Girardi hoped, wished and sacrificed goats for one element yesterday.

"Distance," the manager said. "Be nice to get six, seven innings."

Hiroki Kuroda gave the Yankees those seven innings — seven brilliant, masterful shutout innings in which the righty changed locations, working sinkers, sliders and splitters to leave the White Sox cursing all day. Pitching in heat that matched the speed of his fastballs, Kuroda allowed just three hits, one walk and struck out a career-high-tying 11 before turning over matters to the bullpen to preserve the 4-0 victory in The Bronx.

"I'm not a strikeout pitcher. I'm not a power pitcher, so I'm kind of surprised," Kuroda said, through an interpreter, of his 11 strikeouts, with just one that came looking. "My slider had really good movement and my sinker had really good movement, so I was able to use both sides."