WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees (13-10) are again looking up at the Orioles (15-9) in the standings.
HUGHES-FUL?: Phil Hughes pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, including three on two homers. Hughes pitched like a No. 5 starter. He was OK, not great. His start could have gone either way and it end up about average. The last run he gave up wasn't his fault in that he hit a batter with two outs in the sixth and then was pulled. Of course, if he had earned more confidence from Joe Girardi and kept his pitch count down, he could have taken care of his own business.
As planned, Hughes featured his fastball. The O's had the blue print and swung for the fences. They had only four hits off Hughes, but two went over the wall.
HE SHOULD HAVE BUNTED?: In the third, the Yankees put two men one with one out and Alex Rodriguez (weak nubber) and Robinson Cano (popout) could not come through. Cano has one homer and four RBIs on the season. Not exactly MVP numbers as some (OK, me) had forecast.
In the seventh, with the bases loaded and the Yankees trailing by five A-Rod stepped to the plate again. Rodriguez had bunted successfully to lead off the sixth.
Here in the seventh, with a chance to put a dent in the O's lead he hit the first pitch he saw for a weak infield popout. Rodriguez slammed down his helmet and the fans booed.
GRAND START: Curtis Granderson probably should be the most feared Yankee in the lineup. With Cano off to a slow start and Rodriguez aging, Granderson is clearly the most lethal bat in the lineup. Granderson hit his ninth homer of the season. He nailed it off Orioles' lefty Brian Matusz, who is tough on lefties. Graderson now has nine homers in 23 games. He's the 7th Yankee do accomplish that. Guys named Ruth and Mantle did it twice. (h/t Katie Sharp). Maybe it is time to move him into the three-hole or the cleanup spot. Pretty soon, Girardi has to think about that.
NunEz: Living up (OK, down) to his reputation, Eduardo Nunez, playing left for the second straight night, could not catch a Nick Johnson liner. It was not the easiest play, but an average fielder makes it. You know that Nunez is not that yet in the infield, let alone the outfield.
DJ DAY: Derek Jeter had another three-hit game. D.J. Mitchell made his major league debut, pitching a scoreless ninth inning, though, he allowed two hits.
ON DECK: I'm writing a column on Hughes' shaky hold on the No. 5 spot. Kieran Darcy will handle Nunez and A-Rod in the blog. Also look for Kieran's First Pitch Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.
WHAT IS NEXT: On Wednesday night, it is Ivan Nova (3-0, 5.18 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-2, 4.45). On Thursday in Kansas City, David Phelps (0-0, 3.57 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (1-2, 3.63). On Friday, CC Sabathia (3-0, 4.58) vs. Bruce Chen (0-3, 4.23)
QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Who are you most concerned about A-Rod, Mark Teixeira or Hughes?