(Hot towel, anybody? Hot towel? Courtesy of The AP)
I don't consider a winning streak official until it reaches 3 games, and the same logic holds for losing streaks. The Yankee pitching that had been so stellar this month hit another pothole yesterday, Phil Hughes in particular. The individual HRs he had been allowing ballooned into multiple HRs and the Yankees found themselves in an early hole that they weren't able to dig all the way out of.
- The theme of Hughes' inability to finish off batters and innings returned in the top of the 1st, when he got 2 outs but then gave up an RBI single to Dan Uggla on a 2-2 pitch and a 2-run HR to Freddie Freeman on a 1st-pitch fastball for a quick 3-0 Braves lead.
- Power from The Captain is always a plus, and Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the 1st with a 1st-pitch homer of his own off Tommy Hanson.
- Hughes got 5 straight outs after the Freeman dinger, but then got in trouble throwing 4 straight fastballs, the last one in a clear fastball count to Martin Prado in the 3rd that Prado hit for a HR. Hughes missed with another 2-strike fastball to Jason Heyward in the 4th to make it 5-1 Atlanta.
- He mixed it up a little by leaving a curveball up just enough for David Ross to lead off the 5th with a HR, and Hughes had a new career high for HR allowed in a game with 4. It was just a tough day for Phil. He didn't locate his fastball or his curveball well, and with those 2 pitches being the bulk of his offerings these days, that wasn't a good combination.
- The offense slowly chipped away with a homer barrage of their own. Eric Chavez led off the bottom of the 5th with a solo shot, and Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back bombs in the 6th to pull within 2.
- Give a call to Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada, who worked a perfect 2.1 innings after Hughes with 5 Ks to give the offense a chance. Damn fine middle relief work.
- Curtis Granderson got the Yanks within 1 in the 7th with an RBI single, but the good work Eppley and Rapada did was quickly erased by Cory Wade and Boone Logan, who gave up 3 runs in the 8th to put the game out of reach, the last 2 on Heyward's 2nd HR of the day off a hanging Logan slider.
- Fun fact on a bad day: the 9 combined HRs between the 2 teams tied a Yankee home game record and set the "new" record for the new Yankee Stadium. Not that that makes the loss any better.
- Cano: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K. At least somebody in the middle of the order keeps consistently producing.
- The First Base Position: Chavez and Mark Teixeira combined to go 2-3 with a 2B, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, and 1 K. Good to see that Teix taking the ball off his heel the night before didn't totally keep him off the field yesterday.
- Hughes: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 4 HR. These are the types of games Phil has when his command of the strike zone and fastball location are off. 0 walks and 4 HR allowed is a perfect example of the difference between control and command, but such is the risk you take when you're a flyball pitcher. It's one bad outing after a consecutive string of good ones, so no reason to sound the alarm on Phil yet, but still a disappointment.
- Wade, Logan, and Garcia: Combined 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. Not a good collective performance by the guys tasked with keeping the game close after Eppley and Rapada did such a bang-up job and the offense got back within 1 run.
Wait a minute. A series loss? What the hell is this? This isn't supposed to happen. Good thing there's another scheduled off day today to shake these back-to-back L's off and get ready for Subway Series Part II this weekend at half-full, quiet fan-friendly Citi Field.