(Sports Network) - Phil Hughes goes for win No. 16 this evening when the New York Yankees play the rubber match of their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Hughes won his second straight start on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers, holding them to a pair of runs and four hits in six innings to improve to 15-5, while lowering his earned run average to 3.90.
"He looked great out there today," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said after that start. "His location got better and better as the game went on. Pitching is important and the way the guys have been pitching lately it's been huge for us."
Hughes beat the Blue Jays earlier in the year and is 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 14 games, seven of which have been starts.
The 24-year-old hurler has thrown 140 2/3 innings this season and the Yankees would like to have him come in shy of 200 for the season. If he pitches as well as he has, he would likely have to skip a start or two down the stretch to reach his limit.
"Even if we pitch all the way throughout, it's not like he's going to be up around 200 innings," Girardi said. "I have to manage this as we move forward and see where we're at, but obviously, you hope he goes seven innings every time."
The Yankees could spell him from time-to-time with a start from Javier Vazquez, who will be skipped the next time around to give rookie Ivan Nova another start.
"After that I'm not sure what we'll do," Girardi said. "Last time we skipped Javy a start, it seemed to kick start him. We're going to put the kid back out there."
Hughes can only hope for the type of run support the Yanks provided Dustin Moseley with on Tuesday, as Mark Teixeira, Marcus Thames and Jorge Posada homered off Marc Rzepczynski in a span of four at-bats during the third inning, propelling them to an 11-5 blowout.
Curtis Granderson added a three-run homer in the fifth, and Derek Jeter tacked on a solo shot in the same inning for the Yankees, who won for the sixth time in eight contests. Teixeira and Posada each went 4-for-5 with two RBI. Granderson and Thames had three hits for the Yankees, who tied a season-high with the five home runs as part of their 17-hit attack.
Dustin Moseley (4-2) was charged with five hits and two runs over six innings to win his second straight start.
"I had all my pitches working for the most part," Moseley said. "I had a good change-up, a good cutter tonight and made pitches when I needed to."
The Yankees, who have now hit more home runs (56) than any team since the All- Star break, remained tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the AL East. The Rays beat the Angels later Tuesday night.
Rzepczynski (1-2) permitted eight hits and six runs over three innings. as the Blue Jays lost for the fifth time in seven games. Vernon Wells and Adam Lind each had two RBI in defeat.
With the win the Yankees improved to 15-5 in their last 20 games against left- handed starts with victories in their last five. Robinson Cano has hit an American League-best 13 home runs against lefties this season, one shy of Albert Pujols' Major League-leading 14.
Those stats don't bode particularly well for southpaw Brett Cecil this evening, as he tries to string back-to-back wins together. Cecil improved to 10-6 on the year on Friday against Boston, which managed a pair of runs and nine hits off of him in 6 2/3 innings to lower his ERA to 3.90.
Cecil did not get a decision the last time he faced the Yanks and is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four starts.
Toronto has won six of its 11 meetings with the Yankees this season.