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Hughes shows improvement in fifth start

5/1/2012

Phil Hughes made his longest start of the season Tuesday night -- although that's not saying much, considering his previous longest outing was 5 1/3 innings on April 19 against the Twins.

On Tuesday against the Orioles, Hughes went 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, with six strikeouts and one walk.

Hughes lowered his ERA from 7.88 to 7.48. But he is still in line to drop to 1-4 on the season, as the Yankees trail the O's 4-1 in the top of the sixth.

The 25-year-old righty's goal in this start was to be more aggressive, assuming the mentality he had when he was a successful reliever with the Yankees back in 2009.

He relied heavily on his fastball early, and was hitting the mid-90s on the radar gun. But the Orioles took him out of the park twice -- both on fastballs.

Chris Davis smacked the first pitch he saw from Hughes in the second inning into the Yankees' bullpen in right-center, a solo shot. And after Hughes walked the Orioles' No. 9 hitter, Robert Andino, to lead off the third, J.J. Hardy drilled another Hughes fastball into the seats in left.

Hughes threw 100 pitches, 65 for strikes, and was removed by manager Joe Girardi after hitting Matt Wieters in the leg with two outs and no one on in the sixth. Boone Logan came on in relief and gave up back-to-back singles, accounting for the fourth run on Hughes' line for the night.