The New York Yankees, behind arguably the best start of Phil Hughes‘ career, trounced the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander by a score of 5-1 yesterday afternoon at Comerica Park. The victory completed a 6-3 road trip for the Yankees.
The headlines written across Yankees Universe this morning are much different than probably many expected. Not many would have argued if it had been suggested the names flip-flopped, detailing another Verlander masterpiece and Hughes failing. But, from Verlander’s first pitch all preconceived notions of this game, including my own, would fly out the window.
Derek Jeter stepped into the batter’s box, nodded his head toward Verlander and then drilled a 90-mph changeup, left over the middle of the plate, just beyond the right field fence. One pitch, one swing, 1-0 Yankees.
The Yanks would tack on another run in the first as Verlander walked Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez. They moved to second and third on a passed ball and then Mark Teixeira drove home Granderson with a sacrifice fly. Verlander’s recent slide was about to hit three games.
Verlander never seemed comfortable, but still made it into the seventh inning with 114 pitches before being lifted. Verlander finished with 6.1 innings, three earned runs on nine hits and an uncharacteristic four walks. The league’s strikeout leader, sent only four Yankees back to the dugout with K’s.
Hughes on the other hand battled himself in the early innings before settling into a groove we have not seen often from him and certainly not to this degree this season. His lone mistake was a hanging curve in Prince Fielder‘s wheelhouse which ended up deep into the right field seats in the fourth inning. Fielder’s ninth homer of the season cut the Yankees lead to 3-1.
The Bombers received a solo home run from Rodriguez, his ninth on the year, and scored two more runs in the fifth when Granderson doubled and scored on Robinson Cano‘s triple. Cano would also come around to score on an errant throw from Tigers second baseman Danny Worth. The throw skipped past third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who gave half-hearted ole with the glove and Verlander was late to back up the play letting the ball roll into the dugout.
The game was all about Hughes’ dominance. He was never in much pressure in his career high 124-pitch performance. He only allowed one runner into scoring position which came on a passed ball by Martin in the first inning. He struck out eight batters, including Cabrera twice, a day after he mauled Yankees pitching with 900+ feet of home runs. Hughes gave up a total of four hits and walked three. He maintained his fastball velocity right up to the last batter, Brennan Boesch, who he struck out swinging with a 93-mph fastball.
It was Hughes’ second career complete game, but first that went the full nine innings. The performance was a welcome one for Hughes after a seven-run debacle against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim earlier in the road trip.
The Yankees are off today as they travel back to New York having completed a nine-game road trip which started with a three-game sweep in Oakland. They finished the trip 6-3 and picked up three gamesin the standings, bringing them within 1.5 games of first place in the process. The Yankees (29-24) will next host AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays beginning Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Topics: Alex Rodriguez, Brennan Boesch, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, New York Yankees, Phil Hughes, Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Tampa Bay Rays, Yankee Stadium, Yankees