While the Yankees have played better on this recent road trip, games against the Royals and Athletics will do that for a struggling ball club, they are not all the way back. They have struggled offensively with runners in scoring position, and down years for A-Rod, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira have been well documented.
That is why Phil Hughes start against Detroit was so important. The righty went the distance for his first complete game of his career. He gave up only four hits and struck out eight Tigers, dominating a Tigers lineup that has also struggled this season.
Hughes got stronger as the game wore on. After giving up a solo homer to Prince Fielder to cut the Yankees lead to 3-1, Hughes was practically un-hittable. He gave up only two hits from the fourth inning on, and never once sweated out an inning for the Yankees.
Offensively, New York did just enough to put Hughes on top. A Derek Jeter homer to open the game put the Yankees up 1-0. Teixeira recorded a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Bombers. Later, Alex Rodriguez hit his 9th homer of the season, this one to dead center to make it 3-0 Yankees.
Finally, Robinson Cano's triple brought home a red hot Curtis Granderson to make it 4-0. Cano would score on a fielding error.
The Yankees are now 29-24, and a game behind the Rays and tanking Orioles for first in the AL East. New York is 8-3 in their last 11 games after standing at 21-21 two weeks ago. The Yankees have a big week ahead with the Rays and Mets on the docket.