Yankees, Hughes lose home run derby to Braves, 10-5
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Phil Hughes ended a rather ignominious streak in his previous outing -- 12 starts in which he allowed at least one home run.
He stumbled back aboard that train Wednesday, allowing a career-high four homers as the Yankees lost to the Braves, 10-5, on a steamy afternoon when the ball soared out left, right and center. There were nine home runs -- five by the Braves -- breaking the new Stadium's record of eight.
"The ball was flying," catcher Russell Martin said. "We made a couple of mistakes over the plate and paid the price for them."
Hughes (7-6, 4.94 ERA) took a step back after three consecutive standout starts in which he allowed four runs in 211/3 innings.
He was 6-1 with a 3.27 ERA in his previous eight starts. He allowed six hits and six runs in 41/3 innings against the Braves, his shortest outing since going 22/3 at Texas April 25.
"It's tough when you're burying the team early like that," said Hughes, who gave up three first-inning runs, two on Freddie Freeman's homer. "Days like today where I don't have good stuff or location, it's a battle. It just wasn't there."
Joe Girardi said of Hughes: "He made some mistakes with his fastball, it had some run on it. He just didn't have great location today."
The Yankees (41-27), who lost their second straight game after winning 10 in a row, got solo blasts from Derek Jeter, Eric Chavez, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano against Braves starter Tommy Hanson (8-4).
The homers by Rodriguez, his 11th, and Cano, his 14th, came back-to-back to start the sixth, drawing the Yankees to within 6-4 and knocking out Hanson. But after the Yankees made it 6-5 in the seventh on Curtis Granderson's RBI single, Rodriguez, with runners on the corners and one out, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
"Double play just changed the game right there," said Rodriguez, who is hitting .215 with runners in scoring position. "There's no sugarcoating. Not an acceptable at-bat there."
The Yankees, who went 1-for-4 with RISP, are hitting .218 in such situations this season.
"We've talked about this for a long time, we need to be better," said Mark Teixeira, who hit a pinch-hit, two-out double in the eighth but was stranded. "We have to figure out a way to get it done."
The Yankees could have been out of the eighth with no damage, but Chavez, a usually reliable fielder who started at first for Teixeira, failed to turn a double play on Freeman's hard grounder. Chavez instead settled for a 3-1 putout that allowed the inning's first run to score.
"Chavy's going to make that play 99 out of 100 times," Girardi said. "Bottom line, that's just kind of the way the day went."
A day on which the Yankees suffered their first loss this season in which Rodriguez had an RBI. They had been 18-0.
Girardi said he isn't concerned that two consecutive losses heading into the second Subway Series tomorrow night will override the Yankees' recent success.
"My thought was when we were in the 10-game winning streak, I didn't think we were going to win 100 in a row," Girardi said. "You put these two behind you, you move on and you go try and win a series against the Mets."