Results tagged ‘ Phil Hughes ’

Hughes loses to former teammate Kennedy

Phil Hughes was expected to benefit from pitching in spacious Petco Park Sunday in San Diego. It did not turn out that way.

The righthander entered the game with a 3-2 record and 3.02 ERA on the road this year compared to 1-7 with a 6.02 ERA at Yankee Stadium. He may have well been in the Bronx the way Sunday’s start turned out for Hughes, who was paired against former Yankees teammate Ian Kennedy.

Hughes and Kennedy came up through the Yankees’ system together and were even roommates at one time. Kennedy was traded to the Diamondbacks as part of the three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson from Detroit to the Yankees. Hughes was an 18-game winner and an American League All-Star in 2010. Kennedy was a 21-game winner and finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2011. Yet both were involved in trade rumors this year. Hughes remained with the Yankees while Kennedy was dealt from Arizona to San Diego.

Making his first start for the Padres Sunday, Kennedy outpitched Hughes, who did not survive the third inning and remained winless in five starts since July 2. He put the Yankees in a 5-0 hole by the third inning while Kennedy pitched into the sixth to end his own losing streak that had stretched to 10 starts since June 1 (0-5, five no-decisions) with the 6-3 victory that gave San Diego the series and sent Hughes’ personal record to 4-10 with a 4.87 ERA.

The Yankees have gone a month since they won a series. Sunday’s loss brought them perilously close to a double-digit deficit in the AL East standings. The Yankees trail the first-place Red Sox by 9 ½ games and remain three games out of third place.

Hughes gave up five earned runs, six hits and three walks (one intentional) with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings, his second briefest outing of the season. The shortest was May 15 against the Mariners at the Stadium when he allowed seven earned runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning. Hughes was not nearly that bad, but he continued to have trouble finishing off hitters. Three of the runs off him came after two were out.

Kennedy (4-8) held the Yankees scoreless until two out in the sixth when he gave up two walks and two singles in succession that netted two runs. Granderson, who reached base four times with three walks and a single, drove in one of the runs with that hit.

The Yankees made it 6-3 on Austin Romine’s first career home run, a solo shot to left-center in the seventh off righthander Dale Thayer, but could not get any closer. Romine did not get the ball as a souvenir because someone in the Padres bullpen where it landed tossed it into the stands. Romine has been a bright spot for the Yankees of late. In his past eight games, the backup catcher has hit .476 with four doubles, one home run, four RBI and four walks in 21 at-bats to lift his season batting average from .132 to .213.

The Yankees got the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning against Padres closer Huston Street (21 saves), but pinch hitter Vernon Wells struck out.

It was a day filled with bad news for the Yankees. An MRI on Derek Jeter’s troublesome right calf revealed a Grade 1 strain which may result with the captain going on the disabled list again. Also, pitcher Michael Pineda reported stiffness in his surgical right shoulder after his two-inning stint for Triple A Scranton Saturday night and may have to be shut down.

Yanks ride rollercoaster to victory

The momentum swings in Tuesday night’s game resembled the rollercoaster at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park across the highway from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Yankees went up to a 3-0 lead, then down to a 4-3 deficit and then up again to a 5-4 victory.

Just a week after getting a save in the All-Star Game where Mariano Rivera served as his setup man, Joe Nathan sustained only his second blown save in 33 opportunities this year as the Yanks staged a dramatic rally that sent Texas to its first loss in 52 games this season when the Rangers were leading after eight innings.

To finish things off, Rivera returned to his normal role and got his 32nd save of the season and 640th of his career with a 1-2-3 ninth featuring two strikeouts, a perfect end to an absolutely startling comeback for the Yankees, who appeared down for the count against the Rangers’ impressive bullpen.

Texas relievers recorded 10 consecutive outs before Nathan walked Vernon Wells with one out in the ninth. Nathan further improved the Yankees’ condition with a wild pitch that not only advanced Wells to second base but also forced the Rangers to bring their outfielders in shallower for a possible play at the plate.

Eduardo Nunez benefitted from the altered defense with a drive to the wall in left-center for an RBI triple, the Yanks’ first hit since the fourth inning. The run scored by Wells ended a streak of 25 2/3 scoreless innings by the Texas pen dating to July 11. Brent Lillibridge then atoned for an earlier damaging error with a single to left that scored Nunez with what proved the winning run.

Phil Hughes has had somewhat surprising success at Rangers Ballpark despite its being a hitters’ paradise. Tuesday night it appeared that success would continue as the Yankees gave Hughes an early lead and he was doing a good job at protecting it. For five innings anyway.

Everything fell apart for Hughes, however, in the sixth. An error by Lillibridge at third base with one out opened the door for the Rangers, who came back from being down 3-0 to take a 4-3 lead. Adrian Beltre followed the error with a double for Texas’ first run. Hughes got the second out on a fly to center by A.J. Pierzynski but gave up a single to Elvis Andrus that got Texas to 3-2.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a quick hook of Hughes (80 pitches) for lefthander Boone Logan, who faced left-handed batting Mitch Moreland, who drove a home run over the center field fence. Only one of the three runs charged to Hughes was earned as his ERA at Rangers Ballpark fell to 1.90 over 23 2/3 innings.

The Yankees also had an exceptional defensive game with second baseman Robinson Cano making one of his patented across-the-body throws to first on a far-ranging play to his right in the seventh and center fielder Brett Gardner belly-flopping in right-center to haul down a drive by Andrus.

Gopher balls at Stadium sink Hughes again

Considering the success the Yankees have had this year against teams from the American League Central, the past week was expected to be a strong one. That has not been the case. The Yankees split the four-game series against the Royals and need a victory Sunday to win the three-game set against the Twins.

Minnesota pulled even in the series Saturday because for the third time in six games the Yankees scored merely one run. An example of their desperation was employment of the old high-school play in the fourth inning with runners on first and third and two out. The idea is for the runner at first base to break for second and draw a throw. Once the catcher throws through to second base, the runner from first stops to avoid being tagged while the runner at third breaks for the plate and usually scores by the time the trail runner is tagged out in a rundown.

That was how manager Joe Girardi envisioned it when he had Zoilo Almonte break for second with Vernon Wells leading off third. The only problem is that Almonte went straight for the bag and was tagged out on a strong throw from Twins catcher Ryan Doumit before Wells crossed the plate.

“If [Almonte] stops, we have a run,” Girardi said. “He can’t be tagged out there. Vernon could have walked home.”

When runs are precious as they have been for the Yankees this season, such plays magnify. The Yankees scored in the first inning on a double by Ichiro Suzuki and a single by Robinson Cano and got nothing after that off Samuel Deduno (5-4) and two relievers.

For a while, that run looked huge behind the pitching of Phil Hughes, who struck out six of the first eight batters he faced en route to a 10-strikeout performance in 7 1/3 innings. Once again, the long ball poisoned a Hughes start at Yankee Stadium. The righthander was taken deep three times in the 4-1 loss. He has allowed 12 home runs in 54 1/3 innings at the Stadium compared to six dingers allowed in 48 starts on the road. To his credit, Hughes did not blame the ballpark.

“Two of those home runs were out anywhere,” he said.

The solo home run by Doumit in the seventh inning that unlocked a 1-1 score was a classic Stadium variety shot, a high fly that fell into the first few rows of the right field stands.

“That ball doesn’t go out in a lot of parks,” Girardi said, “but we have taken advantage of that, too.”

Unfortunately, not Saturday.

The solo homer Trevor Plouffe crushed in the second inning landed in the visitors’ bullpen, a healthy blow, and the two-run shot by Pedro Forimon struck off a sign in front of the second deck in right. There was nothing cheap about any of those. All three of the homers off Hughes came on 2-2 counts with one out.

“My slider was the best it has been all year,” Hughes said. “It just seems like one or two mistakes cost me the ballgame. It comes down to execution.”

The loss dropped Hughes’ record to 4-9. The Yankees’ 17-6 record against AL Central foes is still impressive, but a .500 week against the division has definitely been a letdown.

HOPE Week: Birthday Wishes

The Yankees celebrated Birthday Wishes, a group that throws birthday parties for homeless children in an effort to lift their self-esteem and bring joy into their families’ lives, on the fourth day of HOPE Week 2013 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel).

Homeless families with children celebrating birthdays this month were the Yankees’ special guests Thursday at Yankee Stadium. The group arrived at the Gate 2 lobby before visiting the field, entering through the centerfield fence. They walked around the warning track to the Yankees dugout, where they met manager Joe Girardi.

The group then was brought to a where Yankees players Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, David Phelps and bullpen coach Mike Harkey were waiting to surprise them with a birthday party, including live music, games, food and cake.


For parents and children living in homeless shelters, nothing can be taken for granted. Luxuries are entirely out of reach, and the basics are usually the stuff of dreams. Sometimes, the only things they have are things to look forward to.

That’s where Birthday Wishes comes in. The group was founded in November 2002 by Lisa Vasiloff, Karen Yahara and Carol Zwanger, three friends and colleagues who wanted to help homeless children build self-esteem.

Having volunteered in several homeless shelters, the trio realized (as they attended one of their own children’s birthday parties) that the birthdays of children living at shelters often went unnoticed and uncelebrated.

Their subsequent research indicated that no organizations existed for the sole purpose of providing birthday parties to these children and that most homeless shelters do not have the personnel or resources to put together a party.

“In speaking to many of the homeless mothers when we started this project, we learned that many wouldn’t even let their younger ones know their birthday was coming up,” Vasiloff said. “Such was their shame in not being able to put together a party or afford a cake or a present.”

Parents are often unable to organize such an event. According to the National Center for Family Homelessness, “many experience anger, self-blame, sadness, fear and hopelessness.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s June 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress says, “a typical homeless family consists of a mother and two children.” The report also notes that more than three out of four adults in homeless families at shelters are women.

The first Birthday Wishes parties were held at the Second Step shelter in Newton, Mass. Within a few months, eight more shelters were added, and within three years, growth had doubled. Birthday Wishes currently serves more than 175 shelters and transitional living facilities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Long Island.

“When Karen passed away in 2006, the organization was at a crossroads,” Vasiloff said. “But for me, the decision was obvious. I was in my mid-40s, and it became clear that staying with this mission was what I was meant to do with my life.”

The rapid and continued growth of Birthday Wishes is due in large part to community involvement and the spirit of volunteerism that it fosters. Everyone can relate to the importance of a birthday, and this has meant a great deal of grassroots support. Volunteers for the organization number in the thousands and include teens, adults and children participating with their families, scout troops, church groups, sports teams and school programs. Volunteers help to provide the party supplies needed for monthly parties and, most importantly, attend and assist in running the birthday parties. Most donations arrive from families who want to help with money or party supplies.

“I feel it’s important that no matter how big we get, we remain a grassroots organization,” Vasiloff said. “To this day, I still enjoy planning and taking part in the parties. To see the looks on the faces of the children and mothers is where you see the difference being made.”

Birthday Wishes believes that every child, regardless of their living situation, should have their birthday recognized and celebrated. The organization has found that something as simple and “normal” as a birthday party has the power to provide validation to these children that they are members of society like any “regular kid.” Often, these parties allow the children to feel special and give them a rare moment in the sun.

“Birthday Wishes provided [my daughter, Abigail] with a great party and a great toy,” said Gabrielle, a resident of the Mary-Eliza Mahoney House in Roxbury, Mass. “Without them, we wouldn’t have had anything.”

“Attending one of these parties is a transformative experience,” Vasiloff said. “For two hours, it is unmitigated joy. There are a lot of tears sometimes, but for all the right reasons.”

Storm forces early exit for Hughes but not Guthrie

Things might have turned out differently for the Yankees Monday night if not for the thunderstorm that hit Yankee Stadium in the fourth inning and forced a 59-minute rain delay. The interruption ended Phil Hughes’ night while Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie continued and went on to end a personal three-game losing streak.

Hughes seemed to be getting into a groove after giving up two runs in the second on a solo home run by Billy Butler and doubles by Mike Moustakas and David Lough. Hughes followed with two scoreless innings, but the rain washed out the rest of his evening.

Upon resumption, Guthrie, who got off to a 5-0 start this season but had lost six of his previous eight decisions, continued to frustrate the Yankees, who did not get a runner past second base until the seventh inning when with two out Lyle Overbay homered as a pinch hitter for new first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who struck out in his two at-bats. Overbay’s jack was the Yankees’ first long ball in six games since Robinson Cano went deep July 2 at Minneapolis.

Overbay’s 10th home run of the season and third career pinch homer made the score 3-1, so the Yankees were in striking distance, but the Royals scored two runs in the ninth off Preston Claiborne to create more distance. Yet in the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees posed a major threat by loading the bases with none out on a walk to Overbay and singles by Luis Cruz and Chris Stewart.

The opportunity fizzled as hard-throwing Royals closer Greg Holland struck out Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte for his 21st save. Gardner, who was called out on strikes, set a dubious franchise record by striking out in 16 consecutive games. Once more, the Yanks’ offense was pretty much station to station. Only three of their 32 hits in the past four games have been for extra bases.

Hughes’ record fell to 4-8. He has lost six of his past eight decisions since May 15 and is 2-6 with a 4.64 ERA (54.1IP, 28ER) in 10 starts covering 54 1/3 innings over that stretch. Hughes has allowed at least one home run in seven of those starts.

Butler’s homer a stinging reminder to Cano

It would figure that the day the competitors in the All-Star Home Run Derby were announced that the Royals would be in town to remind everyone of the situation last year in which Kansas City’s Billy Butler was not picked for the American League squad by captain Robinson Cano, who was the target of boos from the crowds at Kauffman Stadium both nights.

As if to punctuate the situation, Butler clubbed a home run in his first at-bat off the Yankees’ Phil Hughes in the second inning when the Royals took a 2-0 lead in a game interrupted by thunderstorms.

Say this for Butler. He took the high road and in every interview during All-Star week last year asked Royals fans to lay off Cano. The Yankees second baseman was tabbed for the assignment again this year but did not have the same problem for next week’s game at Citi Field because the Mets will be represented in the Home Run Derby. In fact, third baseman David Wright is captain of the National League team.

Joining Cano will be first baseman Chris Davis of the Orioles and Prince Fielder of the Tigers. There is one more spot open as Cano is waiting to hear back from his final choice. Davis leads the AL in homers with 33. Fielder is a two-time winner of the event, last year and in 2009 at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. Cano won the competition in 2011 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Wright’s picks as teammates are outfielders Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, both of the Rockies. There are no former winners in the group. Wright came the closest as the runner-up to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

The Yankees wasted no time in getting new first baseman Travis Ishikawa, plucked off waivers from the Orioles, into the mix. He was in the lineup batting sixth as he became the 43rd player used this season by the Yankees, who employed 45 all of last season. To make space on the 25-man roster for Ishikawa, the Yankees optioned infielder David Adams to Triple A Scranton.

Bottom of order plus Cano a nice combo

On the same night that Alex Rodriguez began his injury-rehabilitation assignment with a three-inning stint at Charleston, S.C., the Yankees finally ended a slump by their third basemen that had lasted for a week and a half. The weak hitting of Yankees third baseman of late amplified the season-long loss of A-Rod, who is recovering from off-season left hip surgery.

When David Adams singled to center field in the fifth inning, it stopped a hitless string of 32 at-bats by Yankees third baseman over the past 11 games. The hit helped fuel a three-run rally as the Yankees came back from a 1-0 deficit to take a 3-1 lead on the way to a 7-3 victory over the Twins. Adams had gotten the previous hit for a Yankees third baseman, an infield single in the fourth inning June 21 against the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

The way Samuel Deduno was pitching on his 30th birthday in the early innings it appeared that more than just third basemen for the Yankees might have a night of 0-fers. The Yanks went out in order in each of the first three innings with all nine outs coming on infield grounders. Robinson Cano continued his torrid trip with the Yankees’ first hit, a one-out single in the fourth following a walk to Ichiro Suzuki but the Bombers couldn’t capitalize on it.

The bottom of the fourth may have been the turning point of the game. Phil Hughes gave up a leadoff walk to Trevor Plouffe and a double to rookie Oswaldo Arcia. Second and third, none out, and Hughes went to work. The Yankees played the infield back, conceding a run if a Twins hitter made contact. Hughes had other ideas. He struck out Chris Parmelee on an inside fastball, punched out Aaron Hicks on three straight curves and retired Pedro Florimon on a weak ground ball to shortstop.

The Yankees rewarded Hughes with that three-run fifth. Adams’ single came one out after Lyle Overbay led off with an infield hit. Alberto Gonzalez, playing shortstop Tuesday night but also part of that long 0-fer by Yankees third sackers, doubled to right field to give Hughes the lead. After Gonzalez took third on a chop to the mound by Brett Gardner, Suzuki was credited with a single on a roller along the first-base line mishandled by Deduno for another run.

Just as they did Monday night, the Yankees pounded Minnesota’s bullpen for late-inning runs. Adams with a double and Gonzalez with a single combined for another run in the seventh off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who later gave up a single to Ichiro and a three-run homer to the red-hot Cano.

The All-Star second baseman seems to be warming up for the Home Run Derby the night before the All-Star Game July 16 at Citi Field. On this trip alone, Cano has four homers in five games. The seventh-inning bomb was Cano’s 20th home run this season, the fifth straight year he has hit at least that many. The only American League second baseman with more 20-homer seasons was Hall of Famer Joe Gordon with seven. Gordon spent seven of his 11 seasons in the majors with the Yankees and was the AL Most Valuable Player with them in 1942.

Cano has 12-for-21 (.571) on the trip with five straight multi-hit games, eight runs and eight RBI. Since leaving New York after last Thursday’s game, Cano has raised his season batting average from .276 to .295. He is far and away the Yankees’ RBI leader with 54.

Hughes, who pitched well in his previous start that same Thursday against the Rangers but was victimized by Derek Holland’s two-hit shutout, ended a personal three-game losing streak. His assertiveness in the fourth inning was the centerpiece of his seven-inning outing in which he gave up one run, six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Cano’s home run loomed large when the Twins rallied for two runs in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate. Back when the score was 7-1 it did not look as if Mariano Rivera would even have to warm up, but he got himself ready and recorded the final out for his 27th save.

Down in Charleston, A-Rod grounded into a double play and was called out on strikes in his two at-bats. He will likely be sore today, but it is a beginning.

Yankees provide no support for Hughes

Finding the silver lining some days is virtually impossible. Thursday was one of those days for the Yankees. The 2-0 loss to the Rangers at least went by quickly – 2 hours, 24 minutes – well ahead of the severe thunderstorm activity that was forecast.

There was little thunder and lightning in the Yankees’ offense as they were limited to two hits, both singles, and two walks by Derek Holland, who entered the start with a career mark against the Yankees of 0-5 with an 8.85 ERA. The lefthander mixed a hard fastball with a tantalizing slider to win for the first time in five starts since May 31 with a complete-game shutout, the first of each for him this year.

“He got ahead of hitters with his fastball and was able to put them away a lot of times with his slider,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Yet as dominant as Holland was, the Yankees were never really out of the game, and that was because of Phil Hughes, who did much to keep a hold on his spot in the rotation. Hughes clearly was the silver lining in this one. The only real mistake he made was a 1-1 changeup to Jurickson Profar, a left-handed hitting third baseman who crushed it to lead off the fifth inning with a home run to right field.

The other run off Hughes came in a strange third inning. David Murphy led off with a single. Murphy tried to steal second base on a pitch that Profar took for ball four. When Murphy came off the bag to brush off his uniform, shortstop Jayson Nix alertly tagged him. Murphy was called out. Other players should have taken notice of Nix’s move. Hey, you never know.

Engel Beltre, a rookie getting a start in center field, singled to right field, moving Profar to third base from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler. Beltre, no relation to Adrian Beltre, Texas’ regular third baseman who served as the designate hitter, was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in the Bronx, so it was somehow fitting that he got his first major-league hit at Yankee Stadium. Before this series, Engel Beltre’s last appearance at the Stadium was in a PSAL Championship game for James Monroe High.

Hughes had been pushed back two days in the rotation and said it worked to his benefit. “It gave me a chance to step back and work on things I needed to do to move in the right direction,” he said. “I felt I had a better plan.”

The righthander threw 106 pitches over eight innings. In addition to the walk, he also hit a batter and struck out five. The bottom of the order hurt Hughes, not the top or middle. The 1-through-6 hitters for Texas were 2-for-20 (.100) off Hughes, whose overall record fell to 3-7, including 1-5 at the Stadium with a 5.86 ERA.

As good as Hughes was, the piddling offense was the game’s true story for the Yankees. They got a leadoff single in the first inning from Ichiro Suzuki and a two-out single from Austin Romine in the third. That and two leadoff walks was it. Holland retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced. Vernon Wells, getting a rare recent start in right field, batted cleanup and struck out three times, all on sliders.

It was the seventh time this season that the Yankees have been shut out. The blanking came the day after the first game this year that the Yankees did not win when they scored at least five runs.

“We’re struggling right now,” Girardi said. “I think we will get better, but time will tell.”

Nova working his way back to rotation

When is a losing pitcher a winner? In cases like Ivan Nova Sunday. Yes, the righthander took the losing decision in a 3-1 Yankees setback to the Rays and, yes, he was pretty much responsible. The runners who scored the deciding runs in the seventh inning both reached base when Nova hit them with pitches.

Oh, yes, that was a big ouch, more so for the Yankees than those two players, Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist. It put a dark shadow on an otherwise good day for Nova, who put himself back in the rotation mix although it is unclear to what degree.

“I don’t know,” manager Joe Girardi said when asked what the next step is for Nova.

It was a logical question. Nova started Sunday because of an opening in the rotation caused by Tuesday night’s rainout that forced Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes to double-up Wednesday against the Dodgers. With Monday’s open date, the Yankees will go back in rotation against the Rangers. Hughes has been pushed back to Thursday night because Girardi wants to keep Kuroda and Andy Pettitte on their regular turns Tuesday and Wednesday nights, respectively.

Despite the two hit batters, the Yankees’ loss Sunday had less to do with him than an offense that continues to struggle. When you see Ichiro Suzuki attempting to sacrifice in the first inning with a runner already on second base, you know the manager figures runs are hard to come by. Ichiro actually popped the bunt up into an out, but Brett Gardner got to third base anyway on a wild pitch by Chris Archer and scored on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano.

But that was it for the rest of the afternoon as an Old-Timers’ Day crowd of 46,054 at Yankee Stadium came away disappointed after being entertained by a five-inning exhibition fracas of the franchise’s former starts over past decades.

Nova kept the Yankees in the game until the seventh. He gave up a run in the first but got a big double play to get out of the inning with no more damage. Nova allowed seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. The hit batters came after two were out with the score 1-1.

The normally reliable bullpen failed to come through. Righthander Shawn Kelley walked Evan Longoria loaded the bases before Girardi turned to lefthander Boone Logan against left-handed swinging first baseman James Loney, who singled in two runs.

It was Nova’s first appearance for the Yankees since a very good relief outing against the Mets May 29 and his first start since April 26 against the Blue Jays. This was his longest appearance since he went 7 1/3 innings Aug. 11 last year at Toronto.

“He kept his fastball down and had a good chance and curveball,” Girardi noted. “Except for the hit batters, I thought he threw the ball very well. The way he pitched today makes it real hard [to make a decision].”

Nova does not want to be optioned back to Triple A Scranton the way Adam Warren was after his 85-pitch effort a week ago at Anaheim. That still remains an option. As Girardi said, he did not know. To his credit, Nova understands the situation.

“I don’t want to be sent down,” he said, “but once in a while it helps.”

Mattingly’s return a split decision

Don Mattingly’s return to Yankee Stadium was a half-empty, half-full experience in one day for the popular former Yankees favorite. The Dodgers manager had to be embarrassed by his team’s performance in a 6-4 loss in the afternoon, but the club saved face with a 6-0 victory in the night game.

It was another uneven outing at the Stadium for Phil Hughes, who was touched for two runs and five hits in the very first inning and slogged his way through six innings by yielding five earned runs and 10 hits. His record fell to 3-6 with a 5.09 ERA. It is even worse at the Stadium where Hughes is 1-4 with a 6.69 ERA. He has given up 49 hits, including seven home runs, in 35 home innings.

“I struggled to find a rhythm and my pitch count went up,” Hughes said. “I have to do better; that’s for sure.”

Of course, Hughes would have needed to pitch shutout ball to have any chance to win the second game because the Yankees’ bats went silent after the first-game victory. They scraped for three hits, all singles, off Dodgers starter Chris Capuano and fared no better against two relievers. Two of the Yankees’ hits were in the infield. They had one runner advance past second base and only one base runner at all after the fourth inning as the Dodgers retired 16 batters in a row. This was the sixth shutout loss of the season for the Yankees.

Hughes allowed at least five runs in a start for the fifth time. Although manager Joe Girardi said he has not been thinking about moving him out of the rotation, Hughes has cause for concern. The Yankees have two starting pitchers with major-league backgrounds at Triple A Scranton in Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, so there may be other options for Girardi down the road. With the two games Wednesday, the Yankees will need a starting pitcher out of the rotation Sunday.

Asked if he felt his spot in the rotation is in jeopardy, Hughes said, “My only concern is pitching well. Things I can’t control I can’t concern myself with.”

The Dodgers have struggled all year, but they were on all cylinders in the night game. Their first four batters got hits off Hughes. Hanley Ramirez, who was 6-for-8 (.750) with four RBI in the two games, had RBI singles in the first and fifth innings.

Yankees fans at both games definitely came away with a positive impression of Cuban-born rookie Yasiel Puig, who was 4-for-9 (.444) with one double, one home run, one RBI, one stolen base and four runs scored. He also played flawless defense in right field.


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