The New York Yankees rode Phil Hughes' strong start to a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics Saturday afternoon. Hughes shutout the A's over eight innings of work for his first win of the season.
The 26-year-old was off to a slow start in 2013 and lost his first two starts before receiving a no decision in his next three. He found a rhythm early Saturday at Yankee Stadium and held the A's to just four hits during his best outing of the season.
The California native struck out nine and the A's stranded 13 runners while failing to scratch a run across the plate against Hughes. The Yankees ran away from the A's with a pair of solo home runs before extended their lead to four by the seventh inning.
Catcher Chris Stewart hadn't seen much playing time before Francisco Cervelli was placed on the disabled list with a fractured right hand on April 27th. Stewart got the Yankees on the board in the third inning Saturday as he launched a fastball from Bartolo Colon into the left field seats.
Colon pitched for the Yankees during the 2011 season but he didn't have his best stuff in his return to the Bronx on Saturday. He failed to make it out of the six inning after giving up three runs on six hits.
Lyle Overbay found the cheap seats with a solo shot to right field to make it 2-0 Yankees in the fifth and Travis Hafner drove in another run with a single in the sixth before Colon was relieved. Jerry Blevins came into the game and didn't give up a hit to hold the Yankees lead at three.
Righthander Chris Resop came in to pitch the seventh and the Yankees added to their lead when Eduardo Nunez scored on an infield hit by Brett Gardner. Evan Scriber took over in the eighth and held the Yankees scoreless to end their streak of three straight innings with a run.
Shawn Kelley took the mound to start the ninth for the Yankees but he gave up a single to Yoenis Cespedes and was immediately relieved. Mariano Rivera, the MLB's all-time saves leader, then came into the game to close out the A's.
He did just that, but not before the A's scratched across two runs. Rivera walked the first hitter he faced and Seth Smith drove in a run with a single two batters later. Another run scored on a fielder's choice before Rivera finished off the A's.
The Yankees are now just two games back of the Boston Red Sox who face the Texas Rangers later on Saturday. The Rangers crushed the Red Sox 7-0 in Game 1 of their three-game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Yankees will look to win the rubber match of their three-game series with the A's on Sunday afternoon as Oakland took Game 1 with a shutout on Friday.
Will the New York Yankees beat the Oakland A's on Sunday for their third straight series win?
[Image via Keith Allison]