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NYY@CLE: Hughes takes tough loss in return from DL

This season has not gone the way Phil Hughes had hoped. On Sunday, in a series finale against the Blue Jays, the Yankees right-hander can help his club salvage a split and earn his first win of an otherwise discouraging season.

Hughes will make his second start since coming off the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation when the Yankees and Blue Jays meet at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

"I've never been one that's really kind of let that sort of stuff mess with me," Hughes said before his first outing since July 6. "I just feel like I'm more fresh when I have a couple of extra days. So hopefully, that's the case."

In his return from the DL, Hughes held the Indians to two runs on six hits in five innings, walking two and striking out two. The right-hander threw 57 of his 87 pitches that night for strikes.

Toronto has won five of six, while the Yankees continue to battle the Red Sox for the top spot in the contentious American League East.

Blue Jays skipper John Farrell has seen his club battle to climb above .500 -- a 4-1 loss on Saturday, the club's first since July 7, dropped Toronto to 47-48 -- and remain competitive.

Twice this season, the Blue Jays have fallen to five games under .500, only to rattle off five-game winning streaks to get back to the break-even point.

"This team has not mailed it in, either inside of a tough series or after a tough loss," Farrell said. "They like to come out, compete and play. We have the need to play better at home, and we're showing it the first two games out of the break. I still think we have played exceptionally well on the road. I think that speaks to their ability not to back down from a challenge, even in adverse environments, and yet we have to continue to do a good job at home."

Farrell is also hoping to see improvement in his club's performance during afternoon games. The Blue Jays are 13-25 in matinee games, compared to 34-24 at night. Over the last few weeks, Farrell has tinkered with his club's pregame routine to keep the team fresh.

"We've gone from strictly hitting in the cage and getting prepared inside with some throwing program out here," Farrell said. "We've gone to an abbreviated on-field, more of a condensed night game type of workout, just to get everybody in their routine."

The Yankees, meanwhile, are a stellar 27-5 in day games this season.

Yankees: Boys of summer
• The Yankees, 6-6 this month, are in search of their 19th consecutive winning July. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the longest such streak in Major League history.

• New York infielder Eduardo Nunez has 11 hits in his last 26 at-bats.

Blue Jays: Villanueva building impressive season
• Carlos Villanueva will take the hill for the Blue Jays in Sunday's series finale, having quietly put together a strong 2011 campaign. Villanueva hasn't lost since June 19 and is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

Worth noting
• Toronto has won 10 of the last 15 meetings between these two teams at Rogers Centre.

• Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has 288 career hits against the Blue Jays, the most in history by an opponent.

• Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar has reached base safely in a season-high 21 consecutive games, dating back to June 18.

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