ARLINGTON, Texas — RHP Phil Hughes went from never giving up a run at Rangers Ballpark to hardly going an inning without doing so.
This time, the Yankees couldn't bail out a struggling starter.
Hughes entered Saturday with 151/3 scoreless innings in Arlington. The streak ended when leadoff man Elvis Andrus stole home in the first inning. Then the Rangers began taking their whacks, scoring two apiece in the second, third and fifth innings on their way to a 7-2 victory Saturday that tied the AL Championship Series at one game apiece.
"I didn't give us a chance to win," Hughes said. "That's what's most disappointing. You want to go out, minimize the damage and give us a chance. But getting down five, you can't do that every time."
Hughes' awful outing followed a similar flop by LHP CC Sabathia. Unlike Sabathia, Hughes struggled more with his off-speed pitches, especially the cut fastball and his curveball, which he threw 15 times without a single swing-and-miss.
As worrisome as that is for the reigning world champs, the Yankees could soon be concerned about the innings piling up in their bullpen: nine through two games. Every reliever has gotten in, with RHP Joba Chamberlain appearing twice.
"Our starters pitched extremely well, and everyone was giddy about them the last series," manager Joe Girardi said. "I believe in our guys, and I believe that they will pitch well as we continue forward here."
FAILING IN CLUTCH: A day after their big eighth-inning rally, the Yankees failed to cash in on several opportunities to get back into the game, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving 12 men on base.
"We had plenty of opportunities, plenty of guys on base, but (a huge comeback) is just not going to happen that often," New York DH Lance Berkman said.
BASEBALL TRACK: The sluggers have a home run derby. Yankees LF Brett Gardner has an idea for the speedy guys like himself.
"I think they need to have a race at the All-Star Game, just line up 10 or 20 guys and see who wins. That would be fun," Gardner said, relaying the idea he mentioned recently to CF Curtis Granderson. "Obviously (Rangers OF Julio) Borbon, he can run and there's several guys that can really move. There's only one way to find out. Let's do a race."
MISCELLANY: CF Josh Hamilton was the only Rangers starter who didn't have a hit. But he walked four times, two of them intentional. … The Rangers' three stolen bases in the first tied a championship series record for an inning.