Sunday, May 5, 2013

Outstanding Hughes

Outstanding Performance by Phil Hughes Gives Yanks a 4-2 Win

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, May 5-Under a beautiful blue sky and temperature in the 60’s, the Yanks and the A’s met for the second game of a three game set at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The great weather and the attractive contest drew a crowd of 41,349, the third largest Yankee Stadium attendance in 2013.

As happened in the previous game on Friday, the two starting pitchers, Phil Hughes of the Yankees and Bartolo Colón of the Athletics, entered into a fast moving pitchers’ duel. Each of the two scattered four hits in the first five frames. The Yanks took a 2-0 lead because two of their four hits were home runs.

Catcher Chris Stewart began the scoring with his second homer of the season leading off the second inning. The second run of the contest scored on a first pitch home run to right by Lyle Overbay that led-off the bottom of the fifth. For Overbay, who said, “It’s been a dream come true playing for the New York Yankees,” the home run was his fifth of the season.

The third run of the game began its life with a lead-off double by Robinson Cano in the sixth. The base hit was Cano’s 344th career double, tying him with Yankees icon Mickey Mantle for the eighth spot in the Yankees rankings. Cano crossed the plate after Colón’s final pitch was hit to center by Travis Hafner for a single.

Colón left the game after 5.1 innings after having given up three runs on only six hits. For the fifth of his six starts, the veteran did not walk a batter. The three runs were responsible for Colón’s first defeat of the year.

Hughes had his most impressive outing of the season. He hurled 8.0 innings for the first time since July 1, 2012. He allowed only three singles and one double while issuing bases on balls to two batters. Hughes tied his season high of nine strikeouts. He did not surrender a run and retired the last 10 batters he faced. The win was the first for Hughes since September 20, 2012.

Hughes threw a first pitch strike to 21 of the 26 batters he faced. After the game, he commented regarding that advantage, “Getting ahead of guys makes it easier to do what I wanted to do.” After not yielding more than two runs in each of his last four starts, he said, “I feel like I’m kind of clicking right now.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi listed the three facets of Hughes’s performance that most pleased him, “The consistency of his pitches every inning, the eight strong innings [and] the strikeouts.”

The Yankees scored their final run of the game in the seventh on a triple by Eduardo Nuñez and a run batted in single by Brett Gardner.

Hughes’s attempt for a shutout was marred by two runs scored off Sean Kelley and Mariano Rivera in the ninth.

The rubber game of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with veteran Andy Pettitte (3-2), coming off his worst start of the season, starting for the Yanks versus Dan Straily (1-0) of Oakland.

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