A young right hander throws seven shutout innings to out duel a struggling veteran who put forth his best outing of the season. Where have we heard that before? In the second game of the day/night twin bill, Phil Hughes was the author of that familiar story line as the Yankees turned the tables on the Tigers with their third shutout of the season.
After being held scoreless in game one of the doubleheader, the Yankees quickly manufactured a run in the first inning when Alex Rodriguez drove home Brett Gardner, who had singled and then stolen second. That run would be all the Yankees would need because Phil Hughes was dominant once again.
Perhaps the only ball hit hard off Hughes was Miguel Cabrera’s lead off double in the second inning. After giving up the two bagger, Hughes responded by striking out the next three batters: the first two on hellacious curves and the last on a fastball. The only other time the Tigers would threaten was when they loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning, but once again Hughes responded with a strikeout of Alex Avila before Don Kelly popped up to end the inning. Hughes would then retire the next six batters he faced before pitching around two hits in the seventh.
While Hughes was setting the Tigers down, the Yankees weren’t doing much better off Jeremy Bonderman. Just as they did in the first, the Yankees manufactured a second run in the third when Derek Jeter walked, stole second and then scored on Mark Teixeira’s seeing-eye single. Otherwise, the offense was just as dormant as in the first two games of the series.
With only a slim 2-0 lead in the eight, Joe Girardi turned the game over to Joba Chamberlain, who once again exhibited a mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking slider. After allowing a one-out infield single to Austin Jackson on a ball that glanced off his chest (a replayed showed that Chamberlain’s diving shovel pass to Teixeira actually beat Jackson to the bag), Chamberlain slammed the door on the inning by getting Damon to ground out and Ordonez to strike out swinging on a nasty slider.
As Mariano Rivera waited to notch his first save (and appearance) since April 30, the Yankees finally broke out of their mini-slump with a six run outburst. To be fair, the rally, which started when Phil Coke hit Robinson Cano with a pitch, was mostly composed of bloops and bleeders. In fact, the only ball struck particularly well was Arod’s double off of rookie Alfredo Figaro, who was making his major league debut.
Despite the now bloated 8-0 lead, Mariano still came on to close out the game and looked as if he hadn’t missed a day. After 12 pitches, 10 of which were strikes, the game was over and the Yankees had salvaged the split.
- Phil Hughes is the youngest Yankee pitcher to begin a season at 5-0 since Whitey Ford started off 9-0 in 1950.
- With seven shutout innings, Hughes lowered his ERA to 1.38, good for best in the American League.
- Nick Swisher was removed from the game after the seventh inning with tightness in his left bicep. The injury is not considered serious.
- Before the game, the Yankees announced that they had inked right handed pitcher Tim Redding to a minor league contract and assigned him to Scranton. Redding previously pitched one game for the Yankees in 2005. In that game, Redding surrendered six runs to the Red Sox in only one inning of work.
- In the Yankees six-run ninth, Greg Golson recorded his first major league hit on a blooper to center field.
- Mariano Rivera’s appearance was his first in May. The 11 days between appearances was the sixth longest inactive stretch in Rivera’s career.