After Hughes exits, Yanks' rally falls short vs. Jays

After Hughes exits, Yanks' rally falls short vs. Jays

After Hughes exits, Yanks' rally falls short vs. Jays
TORONTO -- The Yankees had a chance to finish off their seven-game road trip with a sweep over the reeling Blue Jays on Sunday. A win would have extended New York's winning streak to five games, something the club has been unable to do since June.

But starter Phil Hughes' struggles continued and made things difficult.

Hughes imploded during a six-run fourth inning by Toronto, and a late-game rally by the Yankees fell short in a 10-7 loss to the Blue Jays in front of 43,924 at Rogers Centre.

"I personally gave that game away early, it's tough to live with," said Hughes, who fell to 11-10 with the loss and saw his ERA climb to 4.44. "It just comes down to a command thing, and I have to be better."

Hughes looked shaky from the start, allowing three consecutive two-out hits in the first inning, but managed to limit the damage to only one run.

The right-hander briefly settled in, retiring six of seven batters, before it all fell apart in a game- changing fourth inning.

Hughes allowed back-to-back hits to start the frame, which cashed one run, before he was victimized after recording two outs, again.

After surrendering a two-run double to Rajai Davis and an RBI single to Mike McCoy, Hughes served up a two-run homer to slugger Edwin Encarnacion, his 30th of the year, that capped off the Blue Jays' six-run fourth and gave them a 7-0 lead. It was the 27th home run that Hughes has allowed this season, which is tied for the second most in the Majors.

"I think we have a leader in Encarnacion," said Davis, who went 2-for-5 and matched a career high with five RBIs. "He has been a great offensive threat all year long."

Hughes' day was done after that, and the four innings represented his shortest outing since lasting 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers on April 25. He surrendered nine hits, and the seven earned runs matched a season high.

The 26-year-old Hughes, a predominantly fastball pitcher, felt the pitches he was trying to locate down and away were running back over the heart of the plate.

It was the same thing that plagued Hughes in his last outing against the Tigers. He said the ball isn't coming out of his hand the way he wants, but that it's something that can easily be corrected because he doesn't need to make any mechanical adjustments.

"It has been a battle, this road trip, for me personally," Hughes said. "These last two starts have been bad, and I need to, hopefully, hit the reset button when we get back home and kind of clear my mind."

After a string of four consecutive quality starts, Hughes has allowed 11 runs on 17 hits in just 8 1/3 innings. Hughes also went through a similar rough stretch in April, and manager Joe Girardi said the problem is the same but that he feels Hughes will bounce back.

Hughes just wants to put his past two outings behind him fast.

"If I panic about it, it is probably going to snowball and get worse," Hughes said.

But his offense, which was down 7-0 and then 10-1 at one point, never gave up.

In the sixth inning, Robinson Cano hit a two-run blast, three batters after Derek Jeter hit a solo homer, to cut the deficit to 10-4. The home run was Cano's 25th of the season, marking the fourth consecutive year he has reached that total.

Cano's homer chased Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ from the game. Happ lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits while striking out four.

The following inning, the Yankees continued to chip away.

Curtis Granderson led off the frame with a base hit, and Casey McGehee looked to cash him after hitting what looked like it would be a two-run homer to left, but Davis robbed him, scaling the wall to bring the ball back.

"That was a heck of a catch," McGehee said. "I was happy with the swing I took, happy with everything, sometimes you got to tip your hat. The guy made one heck of a play."

The Yankees kept fighting, though, as they put three more runs on the board, including an RBI double by Jeter -- his third hit of the game in his 47th multihit game of the year -- and brought the go-ahead run to the plate after Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver hit Cano to load the bases.

That set the stage for Andruw Jones -- in a favorable right-on-left matchup -- but Jones hit a sharp grounder to third for the final out of the inning.

New York couldn't get any closer after that, failing to get a baserunner on in the final two innings and coming up short in its bid to sweep the Blue Jays in Toronto for the first time since 2003 (minimum three-game set).

The Yankees, who finished their road trip at 4-3, will head back to the Bronx and begin a four-game series with Texas on Monday.

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.