Hughes loses to former teammate Kennedy
Phil Hughes was expected to benefit from pitching in spacious Petco Park Sunday in San Diego. It did not turn out that way.
The righthander entered the game with a 3-2 record and 3.02 ERA on the road this year compared to 1-7 with a 6.02 ERA at Yankee Stadium. He may have well been in the Bronx the way Sunday’s start turned out for Hughes, who was paired against former Yankees teammate Ian Kennedy.
Hughes and Kennedy came up through the Yankees’ system together and were even roommates at one time. Kennedy was traded to the Diamondbacks as part of the three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson from Detroit to the Yankees. Hughes was an 18-game winner and an American League All-Star in 2010. Kennedy was a 21-game winner and finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2011. Yet both were involved in trade rumors this year. Hughes remained with the Yankees while Kennedy was dealt from Arizona to San Diego.
Making his first start for the Padres Sunday, Kennedy outpitched Hughes, who did not survive the third inning and remained winless in five starts since July 2. He put the Yankees in a 5-0 hole by the third inning while Kennedy pitched into the sixth to end his own losing streak that had stretched to 10 starts since June 1 (0-5, five no-decisions) with the 6-3 victory that gave San Diego the series and sent Hughes’ personal record to 4-10 with a 4.87 ERA.
The Yankees have gone a month since they won a series. Sunday’s loss brought them perilously close to a double-digit deficit in the AL East standings. The Yankees trail the first-place Red Sox by 9 ½ games and remain three games out of third place.
Hughes gave up five earned runs, six hits and three walks (one intentional) with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings, his second briefest outing of the season. The shortest was May 15 against the Mariners at the Stadium when he allowed seven earned runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning. Hughes was not nearly that bad, but he continued to have trouble finishing off hitters. Three of the runs off him came after two were out.
Kennedy (4-8) held the Yankees scoreless until two out in the sixth when he gave up two walks and two singles in succession that netted two runs. Granderson, who reached base four times with three walks and a single, drove in one of the runs with that hit.
The Yankees made it 6-3 on Austin Romine’s first career home run, a solo shot to left-center in the seventh off righthander Dale Thayer, but could not get any closer. Romine did not get the ball as a souvenir because someone in the Padres bullpen where it landed tossed it into the stands. Romine has been a bright spot for the Yankees of late. In his past eight games, the backup catcher has hit .476 with four doubles, one home run, four RBI and four walks in 21 at-bats to lift his season batting average from .132 to .213.
The Yankees got the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning against Padres closer Huston Street (21 saves), but pinch hitter Vernon Wells struck out.
It was a day filled with bad news for the Yankees. An MRI on Derek Jeter’s troublesome right calf revealed a Grade 1 strain which may result with the captain going on the disabled list again. Also, pitcher Michael Pineda reported stiffness in his surgical right shoulder after his two-inning stint for Triple A Scranton Saturday night and may have to be shut down.