Hughes has master-Phil performance

June, 26, 2012
Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesPhil Hughes threw eight scoreless innings at the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night to improve to 8-6.
Six days ago, Phil Hughes got slapped around by the Atlanta Braves, allowing six runs and four home runs without making it out of the fifth inning. For a pitcher who seemed to have turned the corner after a miserable outing in Anaheim on May 28 (seven runs in 5-1/3), it was a reminder that maybe all Hughes' problems were not quite behind him.

Well, cancel that phone call to the crisis hotline. The Hughes who shut down an all-left-handed hitting Cleveland Indians lineup for eight innings tonight, allowing just six hits, five of them singles and one an infield hit, was probably as good as he has been all year.

“(Pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) and I always talk about bounce-back outings, trying to put together as many good ones as you can, and when you do have a bad one, try to put up a real good one after that,'' said Hughes, who improved to 8-6 with a 4.48 ERA. "That’s big. I’ll try to use this one as a stepping stone to get on a roll again.''

"He just had really good command of his fastball,'' skipper Joe Girardi said. "I thought his curveball was really good. He mixed in some changeups. I thought he pitched up and down, in and out with his fastball and gave us eight strong innings and got out of a couple of jams when he needed to. He got some big double-play balls when he needed to. All around it was a really good night."

Hughes' best pitches were the curveballs he used to strike out Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana (twice).
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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