The Yankees did not start struggling Alex Rodriguez or Nick Swisher last night, but the big loss came in the fourth inning of play when starting pitcher Phil Hughes had to leave the game with a stiff back.
Phils started the fourth by giving up a solo shot to Delmon Young, which led to the first run of the game. He then walked Andy Dirks and went up two strikes on Johnny Peralta before manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Steve Donohue emerged from the dugout. They noticed he was having issues with his back.
“It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t have pitched,” Hughes said. “Like I said, the way things were going, obviously the circumstances of this game and how important it was — Joe and Larry didn’t want to take any chances. If I made a couple of mistakes that inning, it would’ve been a lead that we couldn’t overcome.”
He was replaced by David Phelps, who finished the innning.
During his three-plus innings Hughes threw 61 pitches and allowed a run and three hits. H e also walked three and struck out one.
Hughes said this is a similar injury, but not as serious. Last year, he could barely get out of his bed. Hughes thinks if the Yankees were to come back and advance to the World Series, he would be able to pitch.
“We definitely don’t see this series as over,” Hughes said.
This is positive news for the Yankee, who lost star Derek Jeter to an ankle injury in game two fo the series.
The Yankees will have one attempt in winning a game to push the series back to the Bronx on Thursday night.