Yankees-Tigers: Explosive Seventh Inning, Hughes Leads to Win

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst IApril 29, 2009

BALTIMORE - APRIL 18:  Phil Hughes #34 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Baltimore Orioles April 18, 2008 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Scoring only a combined three runs over the last two games, the New York Yankees finally broke out of their offensive struggles and defeated the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, winning by a score of 11-0 and snapping a four-game losing skid.

Scoreless up until the top of the seventh inning, the Yankees exploded for 10 runs in the inning, breaking out and taking command of the game.

The inning was highlighted by a grand slam home run over the left center field wall in Comerica Park from Jose Molina, scoring four runs and putting the Yankees up by 10.

Prior to Molina’s blast, Jorge Posada knocked in Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera with a sacrifice fly and error on left fielder Josh Anderson. Johnny Damon followed Posada up with a single to score Angel Berroa.

Continuing the offensive onslaught in the seventh, Hideki Matsui singled to score Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano singled to score Damon, and Cabrera walked with the bases loaded to score Matsui, allowing the Yankees to escape the inning with a total of 10 runs.

In the 35-minute top of the seventh, the Yankees sent 14 batters to the plate.

Swisher put the icing on the cake in the top of the ninth, smacking a solo home run to right field and completing the Yanks’ 11-run game.

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“The grand slam was probably lucky,” Molina told the YES Network after the game. “It was huge, not just that I hit a homer, but Swish hit a good ball and Melky was getting on base, too.”

Along with the powerful display of offense, the Yankees were pleasantly surprised with Phil Hughes, who got his first start of the year in the place of the injured Chien-Ming Wang.

Hughes lasted six innings on the mound, gave up no runs on just two hits, walked two, and struck out six.

“It’s the best I’ve seen him throw,” Yankee skipper Joe Girardi said about Hughes.

“I thought he did a great job using his curve ball to keep the hitters off balance. It was something we really needed. He was sharp, and he got it going and got some strikeouts.”  

“I felt stronger since the end of last year, and it carried over since the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training,” said Hughes after the game.

“I have had pretty good command this year, and it’s a good feeling to get a win. We needed it. I was just trying to make my pitches and get us through the night. I am happy to just get a win.”

The Yankees were up against Edwin Jackson of the Tigers, who also tossed a good game from the hill. He went six innings, gave up no runs on four hits, walked one, and struck out four.

Filling in for Wang, Hughes picked up his first win of the ’09 campaign, and is now 1-0. He did not record a single win in 2008.

Rookie hurler Ryan Perry takes the loss for Detroit, and falls to 0-1.

Tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. the Yankees and Tigers will play the rubber game of the three-game series.

Joba Chamberlain (0-0, 3.94 ERA) will square off against Rick Porcello (1-2, 4.50 ERA).

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