Phil Hughes gave his detractors something to think about last night as he bounced back from a poor effort in his previous outing. Hughes tossed eight innings of scoreless ball and the New York Yankees staved off a late rally by the Cleveland Indians to win 6-4.
Hughes took the mound against the Indians with something to prove and did so in grand fashion. In his last start, he was knocked around by the Atlanta Braves, allowing four home runs and six runs in total. That appearance came after three straight turns in the rotation in which he was excellent and notched victories, but talk in fan forums was all about Hughes’ pitfalls not the fact that he had turned around his season winning six of eight games prior to the meltdown.
Hughes was helped by some of the Yankees role players last night. Dewayne Wise made his second straight start, this time in left field. He made a leaping ‘catch’ into the seats along the foul line in which he did not come up with the ball, but the play was ruled an out. It was a great effort to be in the position to make the catch and Wise was rewarded albeit wrongly.
Chris Stewart, starting behind the plate for the third straight game due to Russell Martin‘s aching back, had two hits and two RBI. Stewart began the Yankees scoring in the second inning with a RBI-single off a ball which third baseman Jack Hannahan got a glove on but couldn’t corral. Curtis Granderson added a two-run single a couple batters later and the Yankees had a 3-0 lead.
The Yankees other runs came on sacrifice flies by Mark Teixeira and Stewart. Alex Rodriguez blasted his 13th home run of the season just so the Yankees could continue to fuel talk of how they only win when they hit a homer.
Hughes was lifted after eight innings and sat through a ninth inning in which the Indians staged a rally against Cory Wade. Wade allowed a three-run homer to Jose Lopez after Johnny Damon had put the Tribe on the board with a RBI-single scoring Jason Kipnis. Wade has now allowed seven earned runs in this last 3 innings (five appearances) and his ERA has ballooned to 4.45. He’s had an awful June, allowing 14 hits and 4 walks resulting in nine earned runs in 7 1/3 innings (11.05 ERA). Rafael Soriano came in to get Lonnie Chisenhall for the final out of the game.
The win puts the Yankees record at a MLB-best 45-28. They picked up another game in the AL East standings as they now hold a four-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles. The Tampa Rays are now 5 1/2 back. The loss put the Indians 1 1/2 games behind AL Central leading Chicago White Sox.
Hughes’ 111-pitch effort marked the second Yankees starter to bounce back from a poor start and this afternoon Andy Pettitte hopes to continue that trend. Pettitte (3-3, 3.29 ERA) suffered his worst performance of the season in his last start, allowing five runs in the first inning against the New York Mets. The Indians look to avoid the sweep with Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5, 4.59 ERA) taking the mound. Jimenez is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA in four June starts.
Topics: Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Chris Stewart, Cory Wade, Curtis Granderson, Dewayne Wise, Jason Kipnis, Johnny Damon, Jose Lopez, Lonnie Chisenhall, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, Russell Martin, Yankees