Phil Hughes had such a lively fastball that he just kept pumping in one after another, and that was enough to dominate the highest-scoring lineup in the majors.
Hughes fired eight shutout innings of four-hit ball for his first win of the season, leading the New York Yankees past the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Saturday.
Chris Stewart and Lyle Overbay homered against Bartolo Colon, sending the A’s to their only loss in his six starts this year. Hughes (1-2) struck out nine and outpitched his former New York teammate for his first victory since Sept. 20 against Toronto.
”I think it all starts with the fastball for me,” Hughes said. ”Being aggressive, throwing strikes with it.”
Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner each had an RBI single for the Yankees, who bounced back from a 2-0 loss to A.J. Griffin in the series opener and improved to 7-2 on their 10-game homestand.
Oakland has dropped 10 of 15 after opening the season 12-4. The A’s, who had won six of eight against New York, are 13-3 against AL West teams and 4-11 vs. everyone else.
Hughes, hit hard while losing his first two starts of the season, turned in his fourth consecutive strong outing. This one was probably the best of the bunch.
”I feel like I’m kind of clicking right now,” said Hughes, who can become a free agent this fall. ”I’m just happy that I’m starting to find my stride and hopefully we can maintain what I’m doing throughout the course of the season.”
Showing late life and plenty of zip on that heater, Hughes struck out five in the first three innings and induced a double-play grounder in the fourth. He retired Jed Lowrie with two on to end the fifth and fanned Yoenis Cespedes with a 93 mph fastball to begin the sixth.
”He was attacking the zone with his fastball. He was getting ahead with it and he was able to use it to put guys away, too,” Stewart said as his 4-year-old son playfully crawled around the floor of his locker. ”We didn’t throw too many off-speed pitches. Kind of mixed them in there when we needed to, to get them off balance. But for the most part it was just pounding with the fastball.”
Hughes shut down an Oakland offense that began the day leading the majors in runs (164) and extra-base hits (105). The 26-year-old righty walked two against a team that entered with 142 bases on balls — 25 more than any other team.
”Better fastball than we’ve seen from him. Had a tough time laying off the high fastballs,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”Started working for him, and he stuck with it.”
Hughes threw 82 of 118 pitches for strikes. Shawn Kelley gave up a leadoff single in the ninth and Oakland scored twice with Mariano Rivera on the mound in a non-save situation before he finished the six-hitter.
Robinson Cano opened the sixth with his 344th career double, tying Mickey Mantle for eighth place in Yankees history. Cano later scored when Hafner blooped a single well beyond a drawn-in infield.
That made it 3-0 and ended the afternoon for Colon (3-1), who gave up six hits over 5 1/3 innings — his shortest start this season. The 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner, who pitched for the Yankees in 2011, has walked only one in 37 1/3 innings.
Eduardo Nunez tripled off Chris Resop in the seventh and scored on Gardner’s two-out single.
Stewart, batting ninth, led off the third with a drive to left for his sixth major league home run. Overbay sent Colon’s first pitch of the fifth into the second deck in right for his fifth of the season and third in six games.
”When hitters know the pitchers throw a lot of strikes, they’ll be ready to swing,” Colon said through a translator.
One day after Adam Rosales hit a leadoff homer for the A’s, John Jaso nearly duplicated the feat. His drive was caught by a leaping Ichiro Suzuki at the right-field fence.
Josh Reddick made a similar play for Oakland — in almost the same spot – against Gardner in the third.
Reddick went 0 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. He has one hit in his last 22 at-bats and is 0 for 33 in 11 career games at the current Yankee Stadium.
Oakland put OF Chris Young (strained left quadriceps) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 30, and recalled OF Michael Taylor from Triple-A Sacramento. Taylor is likely to get playing time against left-handed pitching, Melvin said. … LHP Andy Pettitte (3-2, 3.86 ERA) starts Sunday for New York against RHP Dan Straily (1-0, 6.35) in the series finale. The 40-year-old Pettitte was roughed up by last-place Houston in a 9-1 loss Monday. He earned his first major league win against the A’s in June 1995 and is 11-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 21 starts against Oakland. … Chris Nelson started at 3B in his Yankees debut and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Nelson was acquired Wednesday night from Colorado for a player to be named or cash. … Yankees OF Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch in the upper right arm at extended spring training in Tampa, Fla. Granderson, rehabbing from a broken right forearm, stayed in the intrasquad game and said he was fine. ”It was going to happen one of these days,” he said. Granderson had two singles in four at-bats and played all three outfield positions. The slugger broke his arm when he was hit by a pitch from Toronto LHP J.A. Happ in his first at-bat of spring training on Feb. 24.