Phil Hughes pitched really well tonight. Except for one pitch in the sixth inning, he gave the Yankees everything they could have asked for in a game like this.
“I felt like my fastball was good,” he said. “My curveball was probably the best its been this year. It’s a positive note to build on going forward, but you can’t take away that pitch. You can’t take away that game.”
The one pitch was a 2-2 fastball to Matt Joyce. Hughes setup the pitch with back-to-back curveballs and thought he had “slowed him down enough” to get a fastball inside. He wasn’t upset with the location up and down — he didn’t want it too low to the lefty — but the fact it got out over the plate made the difference.
“It’s one of those games where whoever makes the bigger mistake is going to lose, and that was us,” he said.
The Rays pulled within a game in the American League East tonight, but the game was clearly a background event. It was hard look past all of the trade rumors swirling.
The Austin Kearns deal is official, and the Lance Berkman deal seems like a matter of time, with Joel Sherman reporting that Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes will go to Houston. I heard from Kevin Russo who said his being out of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup was a regular day off. As far as he knows, he hasn’t been traded.
Buster Olney says the Yankees aren’t stopping at two trades. He’s heard they’re working on a third, possibly for an infielder.
• Nick Swisher said he never wants to not go after a ball, only to find out he could have caught it if he’d tried. But even he admitted that after seeing a replay, he never had a remote chance of robbing Matt Joyce’s home run. “Unless I was having a Coke and a popcorn up there, I wasn’t going to catch that,” he said.
• For a while, it looked like Swisher’s first-pitch-swinging home run was going to make the difference. “Everybody wants to be the hero,” Swisher said. “But that game for us tonight was lost on one pitch. Hughesy threw an amazing game. No doubt. Just one pitch was the difference. You don’t want to look at it in a negative way because of everything else he did, but it was just one pitch. That’s it.”
• Good outing for Joba Chamberlain, who said he did a better job staying up over the rubber and finishing out front with his delivery. “There’s a difference between going out and throwing and the times you go out and pitch,” Chamberlain said. “Tonight I made some pitches in that second inning to give us a chance to win the ballgame. I just went out and tried to locate my fastball and threw my slider pretty well. I would probably say it’s the best I’ve thrown (the slider) all year.”
• Everyone seemed to agree that Wade Davis found his curveball after the first inning, and that seemed to make all the difference.
• The Rays sold out every game this series, their first sellouts since Opening Day. “I didn’t hear as many cowbells,” Hughes said. “I guess the crowd was louder, and then after that homer, that place really got loud. That was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard it.” This is the first time the Rays have ever sold out three straight regular-season games.
• Girardi said Chamberlain threw so few pitches — only 24 — in his two innings that he could probably be used again tomorrow.
• One game is the closest the Rays have been to the Yankees since June 21, when they were a half game back.
• The Joyce home run was the first Hughes had allowed on the road this season.
• Alex Rodriguez has gone 34 at-bats without a home run since hitting No. 599.
Associated Press photos of Hughes, Berkman and Swisher