The hits kept coming and Phil Hughes was having trouble figuring out what to do. The Yankees’ batters were searching for answers of their own against Chris Capuano.
Hughes gave up four straight hits to start the second game of a day-night doubleheader, and New York was handily beaten by the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0 on Wednesday for a one-day series split.
The Dodgers salvaged manager Don Mattingly’s return to the Bronx after a 6-4 loss in the opener.
”I really didn’t have any control in the first inning,” Hughes said. ”I was kind of fortunate to get a double-play ball to get us out of that. From then on it was just a struggle to find any sort of rhythm.”
Hughes (3-6) gave up five runs and a season-high 10 hits. Two of them were RBI singles to Hanley Ramirez, who had a six-hit day.
Capuano (2-5), on the other hand, pitched three-hit ball for six innings in his comeback from the disabled list. The Dodgers rebounded from a sloppy loss to former teammate Hiroki Kuroda (7-5) in a matchup between injury-ravaged teams with $200 million payrolls.
In the first meeting between the teams in New York since the Dodgers clinched the 1981 World Series title with a Game 6 victory at old Yankee Stadium, Ichiro Suzuki homered, drove in three runs and made a spectacular catch on the warning track for the Yankees.
New York got help from reliever Ronald Belisario’s two errors on the same play in a three-run seventh.
The clubs’ brief two-game series turned into a split doubleheader because of a rainout Tuesday night. The announced attendance for both games between the old October rivals who’ve met in a record 11 World Series topped a total of 80,000, even though there were many empty seats.
After falling behind 3-0 early in the opener, the Dodgers started out quickly against Hughes. The first four batters reached on singles with Yasiel Puig bunting for a hit and Ramirez getting his fifth hit of the day, an RBI single. Adrian Gonzalez also drove in a run but Tim Federowicz grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the rally.
Gonzalez doubled in the third and scored on Andre Ethier’s two-base hit after Ramirez made an out for the first time.
”You’ve got to hit your spots,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ”You can mix some good pitches and try to do some of that, too, but it comes down to not making mistakes and he made some mistakes.”
The Yankees ran out of their one real chance against Capuano, when Robinson Cano was thrown out by Ethier trying for a double with none out and a runner on first.
”He just took too wide of a turn is what he did,” Girardi said. ”I’m not really sure why he took such a wide turn but he did.”
Puig homered to right field leading off the seventh to make it 6-0.
In the opener, Puig was caught trying to turn a routine single into double in the first inning. But he then made it work on a ball hit into only a slightly better spot in the eighth, eliciting an ovation from the very vocal Dodgers fans, who outhollered Yankees fans on many occasions.
The cheers were especially loud from all fans for Mattingly in his return, even if he was wearing the wrong shade of blue.
The Bleacher Creatures chanted ”Donnie Baseball!” during each game, and fans cheered a video tribute in the opener and a live shot of Mattingly in the visitor’s dugout in the nightcap. The 1985 American League MVP tipped his cap in appreciation.
”It means a lot. It’s always been part of me,” Mattingly said. ”I played my whole career here, so it’s obviously a good feeling when people appreciate the way you played and acted.”
In the second game, Puig, the Cuban defector with 15 major league games of experience, bunted for a hit, was hit by a pitch, stole a base to help manufacture a run and hit his fifth homer.
”You can recognize the tools right away,” Girardi said after Game 1. ”There’s an awful lot to like about this kid.”
Ramirez went 4 for 4 with a two-run homer in the eighth in the day game, and drove in Puig twice to help make Capuano’s return from a strained upper back muscle easy. He entered 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA in eight games (six starts) and has been on the DL twice. But he was nasty Wednesday in his first scoreless start since August 2012.
”I was really happy with the way I felt,” Capuano said.
Kuroda gave up two runs and eight hits in 6-2/3 innings to outpitch South Korean rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3) in the afternoon. Ryu allowed a two-run double to Lyle Overbay and a homer to Suzuki in the sixth.
With runners on first and second in the seventh, Belisario let Vernon Wells’ meek pop in front of the mound drop for an error. Jayson Nix advanced to third on the drop and scored when Belisario threw the ball into center field trying to get Cano at second base. Belisario hit Thomas Neal with a pitch, then Suzuki greeted Paco Rodriguez with a blooped two-run single to make it 6-2.
Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Preston Claiborne after Suzuki robbed Gonzalez of an extra-base hit in the eighth to pull the Dodgers to 6-4. But Mariano Rivera came on in the ninth and struck out Puig to end it for his 25th save.
NOTES: New Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the second game. Before the game he talked with Rivera in the dugout. ”He’s the blueprint of when you talk about a career that’s gone for some time. He’s a success,” Kidd said. ”He’s done it all. He’s done everything.” . . . Zoilo Almonte made his major league debut, grounding out as a Yankees pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of the nightcap.