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Phil Hughes pitches to the Athletics in a dominant start on Wednesday night. (AP photo by Ben Margot)

Phil Hughes took an impressive no-hit try into the eighth inning last night, losing it when Eric Chavez bounced a hard comebacker off the pitcher’s forearm and chest in the New York Yankees’ 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Hughes (2-0) struck out a career-high 10 in the Yankees’ sixth straight win, with his parents in the stands to see it after driving up from Orange County for his outing. Hughes was in complete control until Chavez opened the eighth with that one-hopper back to the mound.

This was the second near-miss for the 23-year old future star. Hughes had a no-hitter through 6.1 innings in 2007 against Texas.

Hughes gave up only one hit in 7.1 innings and walked two.

Two batters after Chavez got aboard, Hughes walked Gabe Gross and was done. He was charged with Oakland’s lone run in the standout 101-pitch performance after pinch-hitter Jake Fox had an RBI single off Joba Chamberlain.

Mariano Rivera finished the three-hitter for his sixth save in as many chances.

Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back triples to start the fourth off A’s starter Ben Sheets. Posada followed Cano’s hit with an RBI groundout. Brett Gardner’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth provided an insurance run.

With the win last night, the Yankees matched the 1926 franchise record by winning its first five series of the season.

One very interesting tidbit that reflects the Yankees’ pitching dominance and defensive approach in each game is that they have held opponents to three or fewer runs in each game during their winning streak. With the exception of Javy Vazquez, the other four starters are a combined 8-0.

CC Sabathia takes the mound this afternoon going for the sweep of the A’s in front of the hometown crowd where he grew up. First pitch is for 3:35 p.m.

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Today I witnessed the best pitching performance I have seen from the Yankees ace. Too bad it was cut short.

CC Sabathia kept a no-hit bid going for 7 2/3 innings Saturday, losing the closest call of his career on a sharp single by former batterymate Kelly Shoppach in the New York Yankees’ 10-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Shoppach’s hit on a 1-0 pitch off the big lefty fell cleanly in front of left fielder Brett Gardner.

Joe Girardi immediately came out of the dugout to remove Sabathia, who walked two and struck out five. The left-hander threw 69 of his 111 pitches for strikes and benefited from spectacular defensive plays by Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

David Robertson pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to complete a combined two-hitter. Ben Zobrist doubled off the reliever with two outs in the ninth.

Cano hit a two-run homer off Tampa starter Wade Davis in the fourth inning, and the Yankees scored two more in the fifth on Derek Jeter’s run-scoring single and Teixeira’s RBI double. After going 0-17 for the first time in his career, Tex got three straight hits in his final three AB in the game.

Every Yankee starter got a hit except Nick Johnson, although he reached base on a walk. Tex led all Yankees with three hits in four plate appearances, followed by Brett Gardner with 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs. Curtis Granderson went 2 for 3 with two walks and one RBI. In his first game this season, catcher Francisco Cervelli earned a two-run double in the 8th inning.

The Yankees loaded the base in the top of the 9th and Gardner generated a walk to bring home Ramiro Pena, who had pinch run for Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees go for the rubber match on Sunday afternoon, sending AJ Burnett to the mound for a 1:40pm start against Jamie Shields and the Tampa Bay Rays.

(AP photo by Mike Carlson)

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The Yankees opened the 2010 season on a good note, hitting back to back home runs to give them a 2-0 lead, which they squandered in the 7th inning and lost to the Boston Red Sox tonight in Fenway Park, 9-7.

CC Sabathia pitched 5.1 innings in his start and his counterpart Josh Beckett struggled, allowing five runs, eight hits, and only struck out one in 4.2 innings. Sabathia had six hits, five runs and four strikeouts.

Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson hit back to back home runs in the second inning, for the first Opening Day back-to-back jacks since 1983. Posada went 3 for 4 on the evening, with two RBIs. That home run was Granderson’s only hit. Robinson Cano came up big tonight, getting two hard-hit balls, going 2 for 5 with one RBI. Everyone in the Yankees’ lineup except Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira had hits. Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner were the only other Yankees to get multiple hits. Jeter went 2 for 5 and Gardner hit .500 with one RBI.

There was one brilliant play in the fourth inning when a double-steal happened when Jeter dashed for second base and Gardner sped home and stole home from third base. That was a payback for Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home last year. Brilliant play by the Yankees there.

While CC Sabathia did not earn the decision tonight, he was good for the first five innings, but outfield mental errors by Brett Gardner gave the Red Sox an opportunity to tie the game. It was Gardner’s first game in left field, but he definitely acted that way, not making good jumps on the ball and at one point missing the cut off man and throwing it past Jorge Posada at catcher.

Granderson, however, made an excellent back-to-wall catch in the second inning and he may be a nice asset for the Yankees in centerfield. Only the rest of the season will tell if he’s a good fit than he was in Comerica Park.

The Yankees’ bullpen imploded after Sabathia exited. David Robertson entered the game and allowed a hit, but it was Chan Ho Park, formerly of the Phillies, that allowed three runs, giving the Red Sox the advantage. Park earned the loss for the Yankees tonight. Joba Chamberlain entered in the 8th inning and wasn’t effective allowing two hits and walking one while throwing 33 pitches for 1.1 innings.

Yes, the Yankees may have lost tonight, but keep in mind the Yankees lost eight straight to open the season against the Red Sox, but look at who won the World Series last year.

Both teams are off tomorrow, and the second game is on Tuesday and it features AJ Burnett vs. Jon Lester.

A few things to think about and read about today while the Yankees play their last spring training game. Andy Pettitte took the ball in the game this afternoon.

  • New York Yankee Manager Joe Girardi made it official Thursday — Curtis Granderson will play center field and Brett Gardner left field.
  • Something to think about: Assume 12 pitchers, and assume Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Damaso Marte, David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves and Chan Ho Park make the team. Who gets the last spot? Boone Logan? Sergio Mitre? Royce Rin
  • Both Jorge Posada and Francisco Cervelli are hurting as the regular season approaches. Today Mike Rivera started in the backstop, but Giardi is optimistic that both of them (and Damaso Marte, who is also experiencing tightness/soreness in his throwing arm) will be ready for the regular season.
  • A.J. Burnett was happy with his final spring start, especially the way he was able to use his new changeup.
  • This is one of those funky locker room moments between athletes. Pat Venditte autographed a ball for Curtis Granderson.
  • Murray Chass has penned his thoughts on the American League East.

It’s sunny in the northeast — enjoy your weather! Let’s hope it continues until Sunday!

I cannot believe the lack of Yankee news this offseason.  I think it’s because last off-season was so exciting with the addition of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira that there’s really no way to top that this year.  For the last week, I have struggled to find things to that I had enough passion to write about – unfortunately there is not much.  There are a few things going on behind the scenes that I will briefly jump into.

First, the Yankees General, Brian Cashman, told Pete Caldera this week that “our team, for the most part, is set.”  When asked about left field, Mr Cashman said, “we have a left fielder.  We do like Brett Gardner.”  Now, remember how many times Cashman has said “our team is set” in the last 8 years and then he went out and signed a blockbuster name.

Eric Hinske signed with the Atlanta Braves this week, for a one-year deal.  Although he was a good guy off the bench in 2009, the Yankees had shown no interest in signing the free agent for 2010.  Also, long-time Yankee minor-leaguer Shelley Duncan has signed with the Cleveland Indians.  He’s probably joining their Triple-A team.  Good luck to Hinske in Atlanta and Duncan with Cleveland.

It’s been reported that David Cone’s days in a YES Broadcast booth may be over.  A spokesman told Bob Klapisch that Cone’s contract expired this off-season and that Cone was exploring other options.  Rumors have indicated that Cone had a big disagreement with YES executives, but that has not been confirmed at this time.

If this is true, I hope YES can come up with someone who equals what Cone brought to every broadcast.  He was a good combination with Michael Kay.

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