Athletics-Yankees Preview

In his only career start against the Oakland Athletics, Phil
Hughes flirted with a no-hitter before being forced from the
game.

The New York Yankees could use a similar outing from the
right-hander Tuesday night as they continue to try to stabilize
their rotation.

Tied atop the AL East for the eighth straight day, the Yankees
hope Hughes can bounce back from a rough performance when he faces
the A’s in the Bronx.

Hughes (15-6, 4.12 ERA) pitched 7 1-3 hitless innings at Oakland
on April 21, striking out 10, but departed after being hit by a
comebacker off the bat of Eric Chavez. He couldn’t find the ball
after it bounced off him, ending both the no-hit bid and his
night.

Hughes had gone 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA in six games coming into his
latest outing Wednesday, but suffered through his shortest start of
the season. He lasted 3 2-3 innings and gave up five runs in a 6-3
loss at Toronto.

With A.J. Burnett struggling, Andy Pettitte injured and Javier
Vazquez banished to the bullpen, New York (81-50) has been
scrambling to find viable rotation options beyond CC Sabathia.

Dustin Moseley wasn’t able to come up with a good start Monday,
allowing four runs in 4 1-3 innings, but Vazquez came on to finish
the game and the Yankees got another big night from their Alex
Rodriguez-less lineup in an 11-5 victory over All-Star Trevor
Cahill and the A’s (65-65).

Mark Teixeira returned after missing one game due to a bruised
thumb and went 3 for 3 with a home run and a double, while Robinson
Cano and Nick Swisher each had three hits and three RBIs.

Marcus Thames hit a three-run shot for his sixth home run in his
last five starts for the Yankees, who have scored 81 runs in their
last nine wins, reaching double digits five times.

“I’m just getting a chance to get in there more often,” Thames
said. “I was telling the guys, every year I go through one of these
things. It feels good, especially because we’re winning
ballgames.”

New York continued its longstanding tie with Tampa Bay for first
place with its third straight win. The Yankees said that’s the
longest stretch that two teams have been tied for first this late
in a season.

The Yankees will look to continue their offensive roll against
Vin Mazzaro (6-6, 3.61), who is 0-1 with 6.75 ERA in two starts
versus New York, both last year. He gave up six runs in 4 1-3
innings of a 6-3 loss at Yankee Stadium on July 23, 2009.

“I was a different pitcher back then. I’ve learned a lot the
past year,” Mazzaro said.

The right-hander has suffered from a lack of offense over his
last six starts, going 0-4 despite a 3.89 ERA. He has allowed three
earned runs or fewer five times during that stretch, while
receiving 11 total runs of support.

Mazzaro ended up with a similar result Thursday, giving up three
runs in 6 1-3 innings but losing 3-2 at Cleveland.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has gone 3 for 6 with two doubles
against Mazzaro in his career, while Teixeira is 2 for 6 with a
homer and a double.

Swisher has recorded at least a hit in seven straight games and
11 of 12, batting .348 in that span.

The Yankees lead the season series with the A’s 6-1.