Phil Hughes gave up an infield hit to Mark Kotsay to open the first and then stranded him on third with two outs. So Hughes is already halfway to his average. In his first three starts, he has allowed an average of just two hits per game. The last Yankee, by the way, to yield six or less hits over his initial three starts of a season was Chuck Cary in 1989, when he also allowed just six hits.
Update, 1:39: Marcus Thames is certainly known more for his offense than his defense, but he still managed to race in and make a nice sliding catch to take a hit away from A.J. Pierzynski and end the top of the second.
Update, 1:44: Yankees up 1-0 after two. Robinson Cano didn’t bust it out of the box but still made second for a leadoff double. And Brett Gardner continues to contribute offensively, this time with two outs, with his RBI bouncer off Paul Konerko’s backhand attempt wide of first. Gardner came in batting .333.
Update, 2:08: Jorge Posada left the bases loaded with his hard liner to left to end the third, leaving him hitless in seven at-bats since he returned from the knee bruise he suffered Wednesday night when Jeremy Guthrie drilled him.
Update, 2:18: The White Sox are fouling a lot of balls off against Hughes. He’s close to 70 pitches through four. But he’s still only given up two infield hits. And he showed off his improved changeup when he got Mark Teahen swinging in the fourth.
Update, 2:24: Gardner does it again. His solo shot off Mark Buehrle to the first row of the bleachers in right-center marked his first homer of the season and his first big-league homer off a lefty. Plus, it snapped a 167 at-bat homerless streak. His last long ball was off Elmer Dessens at Citi Field in the June 26, 2009, Subway Series game.
Update, 2:42: Breathing room for Hughes and the Yankees. Cano’s three-run shot to the right-field seats in the last of the fifth makes it 5-0. He hit a career-high 25 homers in 161 games and 637 at-bats last year. This was his ninth in 24 games and 91 at-bats. Think of the possibilities. … Posada got a single, Thames reached on an error and now Buehrle is out and Tony Pena is in.
Update, 2:59: According to the scoreboard count, Hughes is at 90 pitches through six, 62 for strikes. He has a four-hitter going.
Update, 3:05: It’s just not happening for Nick Johnson. He’s 0 for 4 so far and is down to .127. On a positive note for the Yankees, slow-starting Mark Teixeira just singled for the third time and Nick Swisher, after struggling so much at Yankee Stadium as opposed to the road stadiums, just hit a two-run homer, his third hit of the game.
Update, 3:21: Girardi indicated before the game that Alex Rodriguez didn’t have an injury, that he was just giving him a break today. But ESPNNew York.com has an in-game report out now that A-Rod has a muscle injury in his right leg. He came out for a pinch runner in the ninth on Saturday. The report stated he felt the problem running the bases in that inning. Curtis Granderson, of course, hurt his groin running the bases in the sixth and is probably down for a month. If A-Rod is hurting, it doesn’t sound serious, if you go by Girardi’s pregame words: “Alex is OK. I just feel that he needs a day. He plays in every game, and I just feel that he needs a day physically. … We’ve been going at it pretty hard. We’ve been traveling a lot. You never really want to take Alex out of the lineup, but sometimes you need a day.”
Update, 3:51: Finally Johnson did something positive, delivering a two-run double in the five-run seventh. And Teixeira’s slow start could be history. He has tied his career high with four hits. Hughes left with the 12-0 lead after seven, having allowed four hits, fanned six and walked just one over the course of 99 pitches.
Update, 4:11: Mark Melancon just gave up the shutout, serving up a fastball to Paul Konerko for a three-run homer to the second deck in left, Konerko’s 12th homer of the season.
Update, 4:14: Yankees win, 12-3.
Update, 5:10: Just up from the postgame interviews. In the wake of the in-game Internet reports that A-Rod had hurt a leg muscle in Saturday’s game, Girardi was asked again whether Rodriguez was injured. The manager said he was a little stiff but insisted he wasn’t injured, and he said A-Rod would be back in the lineup tomorrow night here against the Orioles.