It is no secret that the ball tends to fly out of Yankee Stadium. Mix that together with extreme heat and two fly ball pitchers not at their best and the results are homers, lots of homers.
The New York Yankees lost their second game in a row, coming off a ten-game winning streak as Phil Hughes was tagged for four home runs in 4.1 innings in a game that set the tone for multitudes of home runs hit all over the league yesterday. The Yankees allowed five home runs in total, but hit four of their own which had them within one run after Hughes left down by five.
Hughes has had problems allowing home runs all season and leads the Majors with 19 gopher balls allowed. In his previous start against the Washington Nationals, Hughes wasn’t touched for a home run for the first time in a game all season. Hughes came into the game riding a three-game win streak with a 1.69 ERA, so even he’s going good he gives up a jack.
Hughes was reached for three runs in the first, off a RBI-single by Dan Uggla and a two-run dinger by Freddie Freeman. He then allowed solo shots to Martin Prado (3rd inning), Jason Heyward (4th inning) who destroyed the Yankees in the series, and finally David Ross‘ blast in the fifth was Joe Girardi’s wake up call.
With an off-day today, there is no telling why Girardi didn’t lift Hughes earlier and empty the bullpen. It is one thing to have confidence in a pitcher, but it was rather obvious that Hughes was not going to turn things around and the conditions were ripe for the Braves hitters. Yankees batters did their best to keep up with the Braves and almost caught them using the same method with homer after homer.
Derek Jeter got the Yankees on the board leading off the bottom of the first with blast to right center field. Braves starter Tommy Hanson settled down until the fifth when he tried to make this a closer game. Eric Chavez sent one over the center field wall as the Yankees began to chip away at the lead.
In the sixth, the Yankees received back-to-back home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano to pull the Yankees within two at 6-4. In the seventh, the Yankees lost an opportunity to tie the game or even take the lead. Curtis Granderson hit a one-out RBI single and put runners at first and third. Rodriguez could not come up with the big hit as he bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat. The Yankees would get no closer than the 6-5 score at the end of seven.
In the top of the eighth Freeman produced a RBI-groundout and Heyward blasted his second home run of the game, a two-run shot off Boone Logan to put the game well out of reach. The Braves tacked on one more run in the ninth by virtue of a Prado RBI-single.
The Yankees (41-27) suffered their first series loss since they lost two of three to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the end of May. They had won 7 out of 8 series heading into this one. The Yankees are off today and finish Interleague play this weekend as they visit the New York Mets at Citi Field. The Yankees maintained their 2.5 game lead in the AL East (3 in the loss column) over the Orioles who have now lost three straight. The Braves (37-32) are also off today and remain 3.5 games back of the NL East leading Washington Nationals. The Braves move on to Boston to face the Red Sox, winners of their last four games.