Huge second does in Hughes
Right-hander chased quickly; Yankees unable to recover
BALTIMORE -- Phil Hughes couldn't make his necessary adjustments on the mound and paid the price at Camden Yards on Saturday, suffering through the worst outing of his young big league career.
The 22-year-old right-hander was rocked for eight runs on eight hits as the Orioles batted around in the second inning, rolling to a 12-5 victory over the Yankees, who lost for the fifth time in six games.
"It's kind of disheartening when we basically lose a game in the second inning," Hughes said. "That's basically all me. I've just got to work as hard as I can these next few days and throw as well as I can next time out."
Making his third start after joining the club from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Hughes' night was nearly over before it even began. The touted hurler set a new career high with eight runs allowed as Baltimore sent 13 batters to the plate in the frame.
Seven home runs were hit in the contest, with Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira going deep for New York. Saturday marked the sixth time -- all losses -- through 30 contests that the Yankees have allowed double-digit runs.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Hughes' velocity was fine and that his biggest challenge was tweaking his mechanics so as not to "push" the ball to home plate, which caused Hughes' pitches to rise in the strike zone.
Girardi preached confidence that Hughes -- now 1-2 with a 8.49 ERA -- will still be a contributing force for the Yankees this season. They need him, with Chien-Ming Wang still on the comeback trail from weakness in the abductor muscles of both hips.
"It wasn't a good game for him, but it was just a game," Girardi said. "We believe that this kid has made a lot of strides. It happens. I don't want to make too much out of one start, and he shouldn't make too much out of one start."
Pitching coach Dave Eiland warned Hughes of the pushing after his scoreless first inning, and visited the mound in the second inning with one run already in. Hughes said he felt he was pushing his changeups and his fastball was running away, but he was not able to incorporate the suggestions.
"My arm slot was low and I was pushing the ball a little bit," Hughes said. "You've got to make adjustments. That was my fault. I tried to limit the damage as much as I could, but I just wasn't executing pitches. I let it get out of control."
The lengthy inning opened with two hits before Gregg Zaun slapped a single past Teixeira at first base, with Swisher uncorking a wild throw to the screen from right field, allowing Luke Scott to slide home safely ahead of a tag from catcher Francisco Cervelli.
That play featured what Girardi called a "mental mistake" on Hughes' part, as the pitcher was not paying attention when Swisher's throw crashed into the netting behind home plate.
"I saw that [Scott] wasn't running, and looked back into the infield and had my back to home [plate]," Hughes said. "Cervelli was just looking up, so I looked up, and the ball hit the backstop."
Brian Roberts added a sacrifice fly and Zaun scored on a wild pitch before Adam Jones knocked a run-scoring double inside the third-base line. Aubrey Huff had the big swing of the inning, belting a Hughes curveball over the scoreboard in right field for a three-run homer.
Zaun finished the big inning by greeting reliever Edwar Ramirez with an RBI single off the base of the wall in right field, making it 8-0 and erasing all the good vibes from Friday's series opener, when Alex Rodriguez homered and CC Sabathia threw a four-hit shutout.
"They just scored a lot of runs," Teixeira said. "They hit the heck out of the ball. You've got to give them a lot of credit."
Hughes trudged off the field to a sarcastic ovation, charged with eight hits, walking two and striking out none. Ramirez served up two roundtrippers in relief, surrendering a solo shot to Nick Markakis in the third inning and a two-run blast to Lou Montanez in the fourth.
"We really didn't have too many chances," Jeter said. "They swung the bat pretty good. You don't see innings like that too often. We've seen it a little too often this year, but you try to limit the damage. They had some good swings, they scored eight runs and they put us in a pretty big hole."
Jones tacked on a solo homer in the eighth off veteran Brett Tomko, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day and had not allowed a home run in 14 Minor League innings this year.
Adam Eaton made use of the cushion in limiting the Yankees to four runs over five innings, walking five and striking out one as he qualified for the victory.
Eaton allowed a sacrifice fly to Swisher and back-to-back homers in the fourth, with Damon clubbing a two-run shot -- his eighth -- and Teixeira following with a solo blast, his sixth. Swisher added a solo homer, his eighth, off Danys Baez in the sixth inning.
In his second game back from the disabled list, A-Rod was 0-for-3 with a walk for the Yankees, who will try to win the series in Sunday's matinee.
"I just think sometimes you've got to get on a roll," Jeter said. "Things can be contagious. One guy can go out and pitch well, followed by another guy, and it seems like they push each other. Hopefully that starts for us."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.