By HOWIE RUMBERG
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Phil Hughes fought the 95 degrees on the
thermometer with zeros on the scoreboard.
Hughes pitched eight efficient innings, Robinson Cano hit a
tiebreaking two-run homer after wasting a chance with the bases
loaded his first time up and the New York Yankees again rode the
long ball to a 4-2 win Sunday over the Chicago White Sox for a
series split between division leaders.
“He was throwing strikes, working quick,” Yankees shortstop
Derek Jeter said. “It was good for us because it was hot out
there. He was in control the entire game.”
Eric Chavez connected for a two-run drive off Gavin Floyd in the
second inning, helping New York raise its major league-leading
total to 124 home runs. The power surge helped make Hughes a winner
on the Yankees’ 66th Old-Timers’ Day.
Coming off eight scoreless innings in his previous start, Hughes
(9-6) gave up two runs in the first inning. He then settled in
nicely to limit the hard-hitting White Sox to just three more hits
over his final seven innings.
“Sometimes they’re not going to have their best stuff and they
got to figure out a way to get through it,” Yankees manager Joe
Girardi said. “And that’s also a process, too _ figuring out how
to get through things. And today he did. That’s a good sign.”
Hughes followed Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova in giving the
Yankees three quality starts from a rotation that took a couple of
big hits Wednesday _ CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte went on the
disabled list on the same day.
“It was great to see Phil pitch well today,” Sabathia said.
Freddy Garcia returns to the rotation Monday, starting for
Pettitte. The lefty is out for at least two months with a broken
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances
Cano, elected an All-Star starter by the fans, has homered in
nine of his last 14 games and entered Sunday hitting .367 in 13
games since June 17. But when he came up with the bases loaded and
none out in the first inning he hit a tapper back to Floyd that was
turned into a slick 1-2-3 double play. Cano has only one hit in 14
at-bats (.071) with the bases full this season.
“I don’t think about that,” Cano said of his struggles with
the bases loaded. “It’s hard to do it all.”
Cano homered in the third off Floyd (6-8) and the Yankees won
the final two games of the four-game series.
“This was a long, hot week, a lot of energy spent here,” Paul
Konerko said. “When you win the first two games of a four-game
set, you’d like to get that third game, but they’re a good club,
Teammates Curtis Granderson and Jeter will join Cano as starters
for New York in the All-Star game July 10 in Kansas City. Sabathia
was voted onto the team by his peers but a groin strain will keep
him sidelined. He said he would attend the game with his family,
Jeter went 1 for 5, dropping his batting average below .300 for
the first time since April 8. He’s hitting .299 after being at .340
on June 1st and above .400 in May.
The AL Central-leading White Sox landed Adam Dunn, Konerko and
Chris Sale on the AL squad. Right-hander Jake Peavy is among the
five candidates for the final roster spot.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a sharp double and scored
on Kevin Youkilis’ single, standing up and eluding the reach of
catcher Russell Martin, who tried to make a swipe tag. There was
reason De Aza was out of range: replays clearly showed he never
stepped on home plate.
After two outs, Alex Rios singled home another run for a 2-0
Wiping his brow with his sleeve and tugging at his uniform after
nearly every pitch in the 95-degree heat, Floyd pitched from behind
in the count for much of his 5 1-3 innings.
He was also in trouble the moment his toe touched the rubber,
giving up consecutive singles and a walk to start. But Cano
grounded into a double play and Nick Swisher struck out to extend
Floyd’s scoreless streak to 14 1-3 innings.
That would end in the second. Raul Ibanez led off with a single
and Chavez connected for his sixth homer.
“Even though they got him a couple of times, he still pitched
well,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He battled, got out
of some tough spots, even in the first. We just couldn’t mount
anything after that first inning.”
Cano lined a shot deep into the seats in the third, a batter
after Mark Teixeira drew one of Floyd’s season-high five walks.
“Just take advantage when they throw a pitch over the plate,”
NOTES: Ibanez cut his lip and broke a tooth when he hit his face
on the bench avoiding a foul ball in the dugout. … White Sox RHP
Phil Humber was scheduled begin an injury rehabilitation assignment
with Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday. … Girardi said Sabathia should
begin playing catch next week. … Yankees injured closer Mariano
Rivera (torn knee ligament) was on the field before the Old-Timers’
game in shorts. He was wearing a light brace and said he felt good.
… Chavez made two tough catches into the sun while playing third
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)