Phil Hughes was one out away from another dominant start. He settled for a very good one. In this case, the final numbers don’t tell the story. Yes, Hughes allowed five earned runs, but he was better than that. Until the last two batters, he pitched like an all-star again.
“I would hope that he’s making (all-star) plans, he and Andy,” Jorge Posada said.
Through five innings, Hughes struck out five and scattered three singles. But the Yankees sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, and when Hughes went out for the sixth, he gave up another base hit to the first batter he faced. With two outs, he gave up a double. Tommy Manzella fought through a 10-pitch at-bat before singling in two runs, then Kevin Cash hit a two-run homer.
“I felt like I wasn’t as strong coming out just because of that long inning,” Hughes said. “Really, I just needed to execute a pitch right there (to Manzella). I’d gotten him twice before on fastballs so I was a little stubborn and didn’t go away from my fastball. It’s not like he scorched the ball, he just hit in the right spot, but I’ve got to keep my composure and make a good pitch to Cash, and I didn’t do that. The inning kind of got out of control at that point.”
Even so, it was hard to overlook all the good that came before those last 10 or so pitches. Is Hughes thinking all-star game?
“I tried not to let it slip into my mind too much,” he said. “We still have a ways to go. It’s been a good start and I’m winning games and that’s all I’m really focused on right now.”
Joe Girardi will ultimately make that all-star decision, but he didn’t really talk about it during his postgame session. He did, however, touch on Posada, Rodriguez, the Phillies and just about everything else. Here’s his postgame.
• Another day of treatment went well for Alex Rodriguez. “Good today so we’ll evaluate him Tuesday and hopefully I can pencil him in there,” Girardi said.
• Another game went well for Brett Gardner and his left thumb: “It’s probably not 100 percent and it might not be for a while,” Gardner said. “It’s something I’ll have to deal with it. It’s a case of just not making it worse.”
• Speaking of Gardner, he had two hits, two walks and stole a base in his first start since the thumb injury. “Obviously when you miss a few days you worry about your timing,” he said. “You worry about things getting a little funky, but I saw the ball well today.”
• Robinson Cano is the third Yankees second baseman to reach 100 home runs. Tony Lazzeri hit 169 and Joe Gordon hit 153 (minimum 50 percent of games played at second).
• Ramiro Pena drove in the go-ahead runs with his fourth-inning single. It was the first time he drove in a run since May 19, and Girardi said he was happy with both Pena and Francisco Cervelli’s ability to get hits when they matter. “When we put them in there, we expect them to produce,” he said. “We don’t put them out there and say just go out and play defense or just go out and don’t worry about it. We expect them to be complete players.”
• Mark Teixeira committed his first error since October 2, 2009.
• Was that infield single exactly the way Chad Huffman always imagined his first big league hit? “Absolutely not,” he said. “But a hit’s a hit.” And what did he feel when he got to first base safely? “Relief,” he said. “Definitely relief.”
• Nick Johnson is no longer wearing a brace on his wrist and said he can do most day-to-day stuff without any problem. He’s still not cleared to be begin hitting, though.
• Maybe it doesn’t mean a lot in June, but the Yankees moved into a tie for first place today.
Associated Press photos of Hughes and Cano