Phil Hughes got the ball for his second start of the season, and that did not go well. Hughes gave up nine hits, three of which were home runs, and walked two in just 3+ innings. His five allowed runs left the Yankees in a deficit they couldn't get past as the Orioles took the second game of the series 5-3.
It immediately started badly for Hughes, as he gave up a double to Nate McLouth on the second pitch of the game. After a Manny Machado sacrifice bunt, and a Nick Markakis walk, Adam Jones grounded to Kevin Youkilis, who got Markakis at first for the force out. But this allowed McLouth to score, giving the Orioles the early lead. After that Hughes allowed another walk to Chris Davis, but got Matt Wieters to ground out, escaping any more damage in that inning. But there was more damage to come. In the top of the second, Ryan Flaherty homered off Hughes to double the Oriole lead. The Orioles threatened further in the second inning, with McLouth singling. Next batter Manny Machado singled himself, but McLouth was tagged out at home, trying to score from first, to end the inning.
The Yankee offense got into the game in the bottom half of the second. Travis Hafner led off the inning with a home run, making it 2-1 Orioles. After that Orioles' starter Jason Hammel recorded the next two outs, and nearly got out of the inning with the lead. But JJ Hardy threw away a Francisco Cervelli ground ball, allowing Cervelli advancing to second. Next up was Lyle Overbay who singled to tie the game at two. Then was Jayson Nix, who grounded out stranding Overbay. This would become a pattern for Nix.
With the game tied again, Hughes came back to the mound for the top of the third. The tie wouldn't last long. Hughes gave up a lead off home run to Markakis, giving the Orioles the lead again. Adam Jones singled next, and Chris Davis doubled, advancing Jones to third, and Hughes found himself with two on and no out. He got Wieters to ground out without Jones scoring, but JJ Hardy's ground out would get the run in, making it 4-2. Hughes escaped that jam, but there was more Orioles' runs to come.
In the top of the fourth, Nolan Reimold led off with a home run. And after McLouth doubled off Hughes, Phil was pulled in favor of David Phelps. Phelps got out that inning, and he looked sharp. He went four innings, allowing just one hit and striking out six, and kept the Yankees in the game. The Yankees' offense had chances to tie or take the lead, but they couldn't quite get there.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cervelli and Vernon Wells both reached on singles, but Overbay and Nix couldn't get them in. Overbay had a chance, but McLouth made a nice catch nearing the warning track. In the sixth inning, Wells homered off Hammel cutting the Oriole lead to 5-3. After that, Ichiro walked and Cervelli singled to bring the go ahead run to the plate. Overbay and Nix once again couldn't get the runs in.
The Yankees' final real chance came in the top of the eighth. With one out, Ichiro reached on a single. Cervelli just missed on a pitch, flying out fairly deep to Adam Jones in center field. Overbay singled, leaving it to Nix again. But Girardi opted for Brennan Boesch instead. But Orioles' reliever Darren O'Day struck out Boesch to end that threat.
With Nunez unavailable, this left no other infielders on the bench to come in for Nix for the top of the ninth, and left the Yankees in an interesting situation. This led to Robinson Cano playing shortstop and Cervelli being moved to second, with Chris Stewart coming in to catch. Neither one of them would be tested at their new position, as David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
In addition to Hughes, Phelps, and Robertson, Joba Chamberlain also got an inning. He allowed one hit to Adam Jones, but Jones was out at second trying to stretch a single to a double. Other than that Joba looked much better than he has so far this season. Robinson Cano continued to be hot adding another two hits two his tally, while Kevin Youkilis failed to record a hit in a game for the first time this season.
The Yankees finish their series with the Orioles tomorrow at 8:05 Eastern.
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