Tuesday, July 9, 2013

All wet

Hughes outing cut short by rain delay in Yankees loss to Royals

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 9- Phil Hughes, the New York Yankees right hander, won his last five starts against the Kansas City Royals. Monday night at Yankee Stadium a two-run second inning by the Royals would be the only runs he allowed. The unexpected 59-minute rain delay cut his night short and the bullpen could not keep the game close as the Royals took the first of four games, 5-1.

Billy Butler set the tone for Kansas City in the inning. On a 1-0 pitch, he homered off Hughes leading off. It was the 15th long ball Hughes has given up this season. Two doubles followed in the inning that led to another run. With two outs David Lough drove one inside the left field line that scored Mike Moustakes who got on base with a two-base hit to right..

As has been an often scene in the Bronx this season, rain delayed the game with one out in the Yankees fourth. After the delay Hughes did not return to the mound after tossing 4.0 innings and giving up the two runs. He threw 62 pitches.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Hughes had worked hard and threw enough pitches, a reason as to why he did not bring him back on the mound after the delay

“Once you get by an hour or so at that point with the amount of pitches that he had, I had some concerns,” said Girardi. “I wasn’t comfortable bringing him back out.”

Hughes, (4-8) who got the loss felt he could have returned. “That’s what was frustrating about tonight. I felt like I could have given us some more innings and gone pretty good.”

And with the exception of that second inning, and had the rain not interfered, Hughes could have been on his way to giving the Yankees a quality start. That second inning and the home run have epitomized his first half of a frustrating season.

In his last three outings, Hughes has allowed five earned runs in 19-innings.

“It seems like all season, I’ve run into some trouble early,” he said. “And then it feels like especially in these last few starts I’ve kinda found myself as the game goes on. I’ve felt pretty good the last few times out. But that’s baseball. You can’t expect the weather to cooperate.”

Adam Warren relieved Hughes after the rain delay. He pitched three innings, gave up a run on three hits and struck out three.

New York managed one run off Royals starter and winning pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, (8-6) who tossed 6/2-3 innings, gave up six hits and struck out three. The run came in the seventh. After two outs Lyle Overbay came off the bench and hit his 10th home run off a 2-1 pitch to the right field stands off Guthrie.

Guthrie went into the seventh inning allowing just three hits. He previously had given up 13-earned runs in 115 prior innings, so once again the Yankees had a problem getting on base.

Royals’ manager Ned Yost had a different strategy after the rain delay and opted to stay with his starter.

“Even though it was close to an hour rain delay we had Guthrie throwing every 10, 15 minutes in the cage to stay loose. He was adamant that he was fine. With a short pen, I said “let’s give it a shot.” He went out and did a great job.”

Two more Yankees would get on and were stranded when Guthrie was relieved by Tim Collins. Overall, New York left 10- stranded on base including the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. With no-out, Greg Holland recorded his 21st save striking out Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte on a foul tip.

In the end though, it was the Yankees failure to get on base and the rain getting in the way with a good effort by Hughes.

NOTES: CC Sabathia (9-6) will try and get the Yankees even Tuesday night opposing 3-6 James Shields…. Derek Jeter went 0-for-2 and a walk and a run scored in five innings in another rehab game Monday night at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

Girardi would not commit as to possibilities his captain will return to the Bronx the next few days as the Yankees want to make certain Jeter is completely okay to go after his setback from ankle surgery.

"There is always a chance,” he said. “You just have to see how he does the next three or four days.”

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