Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yankees Wallop Rangers

Hughes Fires Blanks at Rangers

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees
2 0 4 0 1 3 0 1 0
11 19 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
1 4 0

WP - Hughes (3-2) LP - Harrison (4-4)

Phil Hughes was on the brink of stardom on May 1, 2007. He had pitched 6.1 innings of no-hit ball, in just his second major league start, against a potent Texas Rangers lineup. The Arlington, TX crowd sat in anticipation, not knowing whether to boo or applaud the effort. Then Hughes tried to get a little extra bend on his curveball as he faced the Rangers’ Mark Teixeira. But, no one cared about the pitch after Hughes grabbed his leg. A pulled hamstring began a two-year run of ineffective performances and injuries.

Yesterday, Hughes returned to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and finished the job he started a little over two years ago. Hughes threw eight superb innings against the current Rangers potent lineup, and the Yankees rolled to an 11-1 victory.

It was Hughes’ second consecutive win and his third of the season. His performance was so good that it overshadowed a 5-hit, 4 RBI day by Alex Rodriguez, and garnered him the clubhouse championship wrestling belt handed out to the team’s top performer. He appealed to Joe Girardi to finish the game, but having thrown 101 pitches, Hughes lost the debate. Of those 101 pitches, 65 were for strikes as Hughes’ curveball and fastball dominated the day.

The Yankees gave Hughes immediate offensive support, scoring a pair of runs before a single out was recorded. They busted the game open in the third against Rangers starter Matt Harrison with four more runs. A-Rod, who had singled in a run in the 1st, doubled in another and came home, along with Teixeira on Robinson Cano’s triple. Nick Swisher added an RBI groundout to complete the scoring in the inning, and later drove in another two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.

Hughes’ only real trouble came in the 2nd inning, when Nelson Cruz led off with a double and Hughes hit Hank Blalock with a pitch. But the promising right-hander struck out Marlon Byrd looking and threw strike-three pitches past Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden to end the inning. Hughes went on to retire 20 of 23 hitters and lowered his ERA a little over two points to 5.16.

Game Notes

Nelson Cruz homered off of Al Aceves in the 9th inning to break up the shutout.

Alex Rodriguez’ 5-hit game tied a career high. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joined Ruben Sierra as the only former Texas Ranger to have a 5-hit game as a member of the team and as an opponent.

Mark Teixeira’s big May continued yesterday with a 2 RBI, 3-run scored day. For the month, he’s hitting .330/.404/.736 with 10 HR and 26 RBI in 23 games.

To commemorate Memorial Day, all Major League teams wore red caps with the red, white, and blue insignias. The word blasphemy could be heard throughout the Yankees Universe.

The series continues tonight at 8:05 ET with Joba Chamberlain (2-1, 3.70) vs. Kevin Millwood (4-4, 3.12). It’s Chamberlain’s first start since he was hit by a line drive on the side of the knee against Baltimore last Thursday.

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