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A Hughes contribution


A Hughes contribution
DETROIT - A solid start from Phil Hughes wasn?t the only thing the Yankees desperately needed Tuesday night.

They also had to find a way to shake some runs from a lineup that had gone awfully quiet since Saturday?s 11-run tally at Boston. The Yankees scored once Sunday, twice Monday, and Hughes ? making his first start of the year ? kept them afloat in a scoreless game through six innings at Comerica Park.

But after Tigers? left fielder Josh Anderson botched a routine fly in the seventh, the Yankees put together a 10-run inning, on the way to an 11-0 victory.

Jose Molina?s second career grand slam ensured that Hughes (1-0) would win his first game since Sept. 27, 2007. The Yankees (10-10) snapped a four-game losing streak.

Manager Joe Girardi said he hasn?t been feeling any heat from above for the Yankees ? wobbly start. "The organization has been great," Girardi said before the game. "You know me. I don?t like to lose ? but we have a chance to turn it around."

Having won his first three starts at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with a 1.86 ERA, Hughes (taking Chien-Ming Wang?s spot in the rotation) held the Tigers (11-9) to two singles and two walks over six innings.

Hughes retired the last 10 men he faced and finished with six strikeouts.

Tigers? starter Edwin Jackson pitched six scoreless innings, but threw 117 pitches ? prompting manager Jim Leyland to go to his bullpen.

Nick Swisher?s single against right-hander Ryan Perry started the seventh, and after Melky Cabrera walked, Molina put down a sacrifice bunt. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada sent a shallow fly toward left, which Anderson charged.

Attempting to make a basket catch, Anderson let the ball drop and both runners scored.

And it was just the beginning of a messy, 56-pitch inning.

Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano (15-game hitting streak) all contributed RBI hits, and Cabrera walked with the bases loaded before Molina connected off Brandon Lyon.

In the ninth, Swisher hit his fifth homer of the season.

With a particularly good curveball and a well-spotted fastball, Hughes allowed just one hit through his first three innings, then got out of a bases-loaded spot in the fourth.

After hitting Miguel Cabrera on the right wrist with a fastball, Hughes gave up a single to Carlos Guillen and a two-out walk to Brandon Inge, before Anderson grounded out second.

That kept the game scoreless, providing a boost for a Yankee starting staff that entered Tuesday with a 6.01 ERA; the team ERA of 6.18 was the worst in Baseball.

Still, much of that damage was inflicted by Wang (weakness, both hips), who threw 50 pitches during a Tampa, Fla., bullpen session Tuesday. It?s anticipated that Wang would pitch either in an extended spring training or a simulated game Saturday, and could return to the rotation by late May.

Yet, suddenly, Hughes has another opportunity to stick around. He?s been in the Yankees ? organization since 2004, and first entered the rotation two years ago, so it?s easy to forget he?s still just 22.

But a strained hamstring and a severely sprained ankle wrecked Hughes? 2007 regular season, and a fluky stress fracture to a rib helped ruin his ?08 campaign ? although he had been ineffective all of last April.

Hughes was 0-4, with a 9.00 ERA in six starts through April 29, 2008.

To make room for Hughes on the roster, reliever Steven Jackson was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But the Yankees still were operating with an eight-man bullpen, and only three players on the bench ? Posada, Angel Berroa and Brett Gardner.

Melky Cabrera started his third consecutive game and the center field job is now a day-to-day proposition, as is the third base situation.

Tuesday night marked Ramiro Pena?s second straight start at third, with Girardi opting for the superior defense over Berroa.

Of course, the Yankees are counting the days until Alex Rodriguez?s return, which could come as soon as May 8.

E-mail: caldera@northjersey.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

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