BRONX, NY — A 7-3 victory of the Toronto Blue Jays over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon ended the season-high eight game winning streak of the Yanks. The three home runs given up Yankee starter Phil Hughes accounted for five of the six earned runs surrendered by Hughes.
Unlike the past two games when starters, Ivan Molina on Friday and Javier Vazquez on Saturday, were pulled after 4.2 innings even though the Yanks were ahead, Hughes finished six innings. Had either retired the next batter successfully, he could have been eligible for the win. The Yanks trailed 6-2 when Hughes was removed from the contest.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi did not believe Hughes pitched badly even though the starter gave up six earned runs and seven hits in his six frames on the mound. He thought his only bad pitches came on 0-2 counts to Vernon Wells in the first and Aaron Hill in the third.
Girardi stated, “He wasn’t too bad. His velocity was okay today. The two 0-2 pitches cost him the game. It was location. Today, he just made mistakes. It was just those two he didn’t put away..”
Hughes agreed with his manager’s contention, “Those were basically the worst two pitches I made in the game. I just missed location.” Hughes said his performance was “obviously better than the last two times.” He told reporters he did not attribute tiredness as the reason for his decline in performance as of late, “I don’t believe fatigue is a problem out there. Every five days, I feel great.”
Alex Rodriguez returned from the 15-day disabled list before the game. A-Rod had two singles, one driving in a run, in five trips to the plate. Yankee captain Derek Jeter said of the return of A-Rod to the starting lineup, “He makes any team better. It’s good that he’s feeling better.” Surprisingly to many, the yanks won 11 of the 14 games in which Rodriguez was on the DL.
Jeter, as usual, expressed a simple yet accurate description of the game, “They [Toronto] played better than us today.”
The Yankees relief corps surrendered its first earned run in the past five games. The pen’s work sincle July 26 has been outstanding. The relievers have held opposing batters to a .188 batting average and have compiled an earned run average of 1.60.
The Yankees defeat did not alter the successful year New York is enjoying. The Yanks have the best won/loss record in the majors, 86-51. The Yanks lead the American League East by 2.5 games over Tampa. The Yanks have won 14 of its last 19 and have been successful in 13 of its last 17 games at Yankee Stadium.
AJ Burnett starts for the Yanks against Brian Mutusz in the first of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Labor Day afternoon.