More Stadium woes for Hughes

The mystery of Phil Hughes continued Saturday at Yankee Stadium. For the third straight start, Hughes failed to last long enough to qualify for a winning decision, which he has not had in six starts dating to July 2, in the Yankees’ 9-3 loss to the Tigers.

Hughes was up to 99 pitches by the time he was removed from the game one out into the fifth inning. The righthander had six strikeouts and did not walk a batter, but he hit a lot of bats. The Tigers lashed out seven hits, including four for extra bases, off Hughes, whose season ERA is a mere decimal point below 5 at 4.99.

Over his past six starts, Hughes is 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. He has allowed 35 hits, including eight home runs, over that stretch. The Stadium continued to be a scary place for him. Hughes is 1-8 with 16 home runs allowed and a 6.18 ERA this season in the Bronx compared to 3-3 with six home runs allowed and a 3.67 ERA on the road.

“He has had a hard time keeping the ball down,” manager Joe Girardi said. “They put a lot of long at-bats on him. They [Tigers] have some guys that can do real damage.”

The Yankees could not maintain the momentum from Friday night’s uplifting victory in extra innings to exonerate a rare second straight blown save by Mariano Rivera. The first batter who faced Hughes Saturday ended up on third base.

What a series Austin Jackson is having. The Tigers center fielder had three doubles in a four-hit game Friday night and followed that Saturday with a first-inning triple and a fifth-inning home run. Jackson is 6-for-10 (.600) with five runs, three doubles, one triple and one home run in the series. He has a series slugging percentage of 1.400!

Miguel Cabrera, who stunned Rivera with a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth, went deep again off Hughes in the third inning. He has been no slouch in the series, either, with five hits in 10 at-bats (.500), including two home runs. The defending American League Most Valuable Player and Triple Crown winner has driven in four runs and scored three.

Cabrera has made a habit of beating up on the Yankees. In 45 career games against them, Cabrera is batting .367 with 11 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs and 43 RBI in 166 at-bats. In 15 games at Yankee Stadium, Cabrera is a .404 hitter with two doubles, nine home runs and 20 RBI in 57 at-bats.

The Yankees were in a 6-0 hole before Lyle Overbay got them on the board in the fifth with a two-run home run off Anibal Sanchez. Yet just when it seemed the Yankees would make a run against the Tigers, Detroit moved further ahead the next inning on Torii Hunter’s three-run home run off Joba Chamberlain. Overbay knocked in the Yankees’ third run as well with a two-out single in the ninth.

Overbay, who also walked, was the only Yankees player to reach base multiple times. His home run (No. 13) was his first at the Stadium since July 10 against the Royals.

The Yankees bullpen allowed five earned runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, the most runs allowed by the relief corps since June 1 against the Red Sox (six earned runs) and the fourth time relievers have allowed at least five runs in a game (also five earned runs April 3 against the Red Sox and May 15 against the Mariners). Overall, Yankees pitchers allowed 17 hits, one shy of their season high. This was the fourth time giving up at least 17 hits in a game and the second against the Tigers (also 17 hits April 6 at Detroit).

The Yankees got only three other hits off Sanchez (10-7), who walked one batter and struck out eight in his seven innings. Around that time fans in the stands starting doing the wave. There is no greater sign of disinterest.

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