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Justin Masterson Dominates in Hughes' Return: Indians 5, Yankees 3

Hey, it was better than your first three starts of 2011.
Hey, it was better than your first three starts of 2011.

Justin Masterson was absolutely dominant. He kept the Yankee lineup extremely quiet for eight shutout innings, allowing only five baserunners while striking out six in the process. Derek Jeter, with a double and a walk, was the only Yankee to reach base twice off of Masterson. Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin singled off Masterson, and Nick Swisher pitched in with a walk of his own.

Phil Hughes was solid but unspectacular. In five innings of work, he allowed six hits, walked two, hit two batters, struck out two, and allowed two runs. He threw 57 of his 87 pitches (66%) for strikes, and his GO/AO ratio was solid at 5 to 3. 

Both runs that Hughes gave up came in the first inning behind an RBI single from Travis Hafner and a wild pitch strikeout of Carlos Santana. Granted, the Hafner single would have been an easy double play ball had Jeter not been shifted behind second base.

He allowed too many baserunners for any fan's liking, but it's hard to complain about him throwing 66% of his pitches for strikes and getting more ground ball outs than fly ball outs. However, it would be nice to see him keep the ball lower in the strike zone. 

Overall, it was a decent return for Hughes, who averaged 91.5 mph on his fastball.

Luis Ayala got two outs in the sixth and gave way to Boone Logan, who got Ayala out of a jam in typical Boone Logan fashion. He hit a batter to load the bases before A-Rod made a fantastic diving play to get Logan out of the jam.

However, Logan was not done, and served up a solo home run to Lonnie Chisenhall that pushed the score to 3-0 Cleveland. Sergio Mitre relieved Logan in the seventh, but of course, was not done. He gave up two very important insurance runs in the eighth that turned into the difference in this game. Why is he a Yankee?

In the ninth, the Yankees scored three runs behind singles from A-Rod and Cano, an RBI double from Nick Swisher, and two RBI groundouts from Jorge Posada and Russell Martin. Brett Gardner struck out looking to end the game, leaving Derek Jeter and his chance for hit number 2,998 in the on deck circle.

The Yankees finally lost a series after winning seven straight. They now head home for a four-game series against the Rays before the All-Star break begins.

Box Score.

Play of the Game: Hafner's RBI single.

Comment of the Game: long time listener

DJ3K Watch: 2,997 career hits (1 for 3 with a walk tonight).