(Courtesy of The AP)
Phil Hughes' last start was an improvement, but with his overall body of work for the season, the void that Mo's injury created in the bullpen, and Andy Pettitte continuing to close in on his return, Phil needed another good start to keep himself in the running for a rotation spot. He did pitch well yesterday, and got plenty of help from the offense to get the Bombers back in the win column.
- Hughes allowed a 1st-inning run after giving up a 1-out walk and a double, and I'm sure plenty of Yankee fan eyes rolled, but he settled down after that and pitched a very solid game, allowing just 1 more run through 6 innings and not walking another batter.
- The Yankee offense gave Hughes plenty of early support, getting the run back in the 2nd on a RBI single by Raul Ibanez, and then dropping the hammer on Royals' starter Luke Hochevar in the 3rd.
- A leadoff single by Dewayne Wise, another single from Derek Jeter, and a third from Curtis Granderson and the Yankees had the lead. A-Rod was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Robinson Cano, still stagnant at the plate, unloaded them with a monster grand slam to right-center field to make it 6-1 Yanks.
- To add insult to injury, Nick Swisher crushed a solo shot to make it 7-1 and end Hochevar's day. Swish was DHing yesterday in his first game back , and his bat didn't appear to have missed a beat.
- If this was Hughes' last start in the rotation, Joe certainly let him empty the tank. Hughes threw 115 pitches before finally tiring out in the 7th, 75 for strikes. His fastball, as usual, was his go-to pitch and Hughes was feeling it yesterday, throwing it for strikes at about 93-95 all day. He also got swinging Ks on his curveball and changeup, and even though his day ended on a sour note, it was a good line for Hughes.
- The Yankee offense gave Hughes a lot of support early, and also provided some late on a 3-run bomb from The Horse in the 8th. It was a vintage A-Rod swing and maybe a sign that he's starting to wake up.
- This was the type of offensive performance this team needed after a relatively quiet week. They banged out 12 hits (5 players each had 2) and 6 walks, and got encouraging signs of life from A-Rod and Cano.
- Alex Rodriguez: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. There aren't many prettier swings in baseball than A-Rod's when he's looking offspeed and gets all of it.
- Cano: 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 K. It'd be nice if he would get going. Hopefully yesterday was the start of that.
- Granderson: 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K. His RBI single in the 2nd was his 1,000th career hit, so congrats to Curtis for that.
- Jeter: 2-3, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 BB. Just The Captain setting the table and getting on base 4 times. NBD.
- Russell Martin: 0-5, 1 K, 4 LOB. An ugly day after being the only hitter to do anything the game before. I could have called out Teix here for being the only other starter to go hitless, but he at least drew 2 walks.
It's an off day for the Yankees today, as they get set to travel home and open a 3-game series against Tampa, who's opened a bit of a gap on them for 2nd place in the AL East. The only Major League-related Yankee action today will be Brett Gardner starting his MiL rehab assignment.