Bronx, NY – Phil Hughes has trouble keeping the ball inside the fences at Yankee Stadium.
Hughes gave up two long home runs to Miguel Carbrera, and New York’s own power display wasn’t enough in a 10-7 loss Sunday to the Detroit Tigers.
“The big concern is when you’re not locating, and that’s going to happen sometimes, you got to get through it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
In his brief career in the rotation, Hughes has not been able to limit his mistakes at home. Last season, his first full year as a starter, Hughes tied for the major league lead for homers allowed at home with 20.
Cabrera kicked off a game of long-ball derby in the first by lining a 1-2 pitch from Hughes over a section of seats and into the bleachers in left field for a 2-0 lead. He hit a drive a little farther in the third inning for his 19th career multihomer game. Cabrera’s previous multihomer game came at Yankee Stadium last Aug. 18.
Cabrera enjoys facing the Yankees. He has at least one hit in all three games in this series and has hit safely in 25 of 26 games against New York.
“He hits mistakes,” Hughes said. “You’ve got to make good pitches to him and I didn’t today.”
The Yankees have high expectations for Hughes, their latest homegrown All-Star. After going 18-8 last season, he’s moved up from the No. 5 spot in the rotation to third and he was given retired Andy Pettitte’s old locker in the New York clubhouse.
In spring training, Hughes’ velocity was around 88 mph, lower than the 93-94 he normally reaches, and pitching coack Larry Rothschild thinks Hughes was trying to compensate for the lack of speed – he reached 91 Sunday.
“He got trapped today, trying to find more velocity and he lost location,” Rothschild said.
Hughes (0-1) allowed five runs and five hits in four innings. He threw 90 pitches.
The Yankees smacked four long balls of their own. Jorge Posada smashed a pair of two-run homers, Mark Teixeira connected for the third straight game and Robinson Cano hit his first of the season for New York, which was trying for its first 3-0 start since 2003. The teams combined for seven home runs – five to right field – on a day the flags above the lights were blowing out toward right.
“You can’t sleep with these guys,” Cabrera said. “We score runs, they score runs back so you got to play perfect with these guys.”
Brennan Boesch had a two-run shot among four hits and four RBIs for Detroit. Boesch matched a career high with four hits, scored four runs and had a sacrifice fly.
Max Scherzer (1-0) gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings – after allowing 20 earned runs in 17 1-3 innings this spring. But Scherzer couldn’t keep the ball in the park either. In the third, Teixeria and Cano connected around a strike out for Alex Rodriguez. Don Kelly leaped at the wall in the short right field both times but came up empty, and the Yankees pulled to 5-4.
“It’s what it is, there’s nothing I can do,” Scherzer said about Cano’s homer that just cleared the fence near the 314-foot sign. “Even though it’s not the best outing, it still feels pretty good.”
Posada had made it 2-all in the second with a drive into the second-deck in right field for his first homer in his new role as the Yankees’ full-time designated hitter. He connected for another two-run shot in the fifth pull New York to 7-6.
“I just stayed loose, got ready for the next at-bat,” Posada said of his routine betweens turns.
Bartolo Colon relieved Hughes after the fourth for his first appearance in the big leagues since July 24, 2009, with the Chicago White Sox against Detroit. A surprise success story in spring training, Colon won the long reliever role in the Yankees’ bullpen.
He gave up a hit to his first batter, Ramon Santiago. Boesch followed with the fourth homer of the day to right for a 7-4 lead.
Colon gave up a run-scoring single to Santiago and a sacrifice fly to Boesch in the sixth before finishing off the Yankees’ first 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.
Nick Swisher had an RBI double off the wall in right-center in the bottom half off Coke to make it 9-7.
NOTES: Boesch became first Tiger since Dmitri Young on April 4, 2005, to have at least four hits, four runs and four RBIs in a game. … Posada’s previous multihomer game was on Sept. 1, 2009, at Baltimore. … The Yankees have used the same starting lineup for the first three games of a season for the first time since 2006. … The Tigers got just their second win at new Yankee Stadium. They were 1-6 entering this season. Scherzer earned the win.