Here’s what passes for bad news in Yankeeland these days: Phil Hughes tossed seven hitless innings last night, but didn’t pitch a no-hitter; Joba Chamberlain earned a hold, but allowed an inherited runner to score for the first time this season; and Mariano Rivera earned the save, but let the tying runner reach base in the process. Yes, things are going pretty well right now.
This wasn’t the first time Hughes has flirted with a no-hitter — which is impressive, considering last night’s was just his 30th big-league start. Back in 2007, in his second start in the majors, Hughes took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Texas, then left the game with a hamstring injury that would sideline him for three months. Last night he got off easy: This time he only had to get nailed with a hard-hit Eric Chavez comebacker and have trouble finding the ball to lose the no-hitter.
The 3–1 win was their sixth-straight victory — the key offensive inning was the fourth, when Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano both tripled, and Jorge Posada drove in a run on a ground out — and the starting pitcher has gotten the decision in all six of those games. It’s their fifth-consecutive series victory to start the season, and at 11–3, they have the best record in baseball. Their dominance in the early going has been remarkably casual: get a lead, protect it, repeat. But last night’s win was more interesting than that, for obvious reasons. Nothing like a potential no-hitter to keep folks watching until the end of a West Coast game.