Hughes solid as Yanks salvage split with Tigers

DETROIT -- Phil Hughes showed how fortunate the New York Yankees are to have him toward the back of their rotation.

He was sharp for seven innings, helping New York beat the Detroit Tigers 8-0 Wednesday to split a day-night doubleheader.

Hughes (5-0) gave up five hits, struck out eight and extended his undefeated streak to 10 games.

"On 15 to 20 teams, he's probably an ace," former teammate Johnny Damon said. "For the Yankees, he's the No. 4 starter."

All four starting pitchers on Wednesday were very effective.

Only one of them -- Hughes -- has been good all season.

The 23-year-old righty is the youngest Yankees starting pitcher to win his first five decisions since 1950, when Whitey Ford was 9-0.

"I probably didn't envision these exact numbers, but I really felt good coming out of spring training," said Hughes, whose 1.38 ERA is the league's best.

He didn't need much run support, but got plenty with a six-run ninth as ex-Yankee Phil Coke gave up four runs.

Hughes allowed two hits in the seventh and two hits along with a walk in the fourth, getting out of both jams dominating the bottom of Detroit's order.

"He's made some huge strides for us," manager Joe Girardi said. "We expected him to be a good starting pitcher coming out of spring training, but I think he has exceeded even what we were hoping we'd get."

Joba Chamberlain pitched the eighth, his seventh straight scoreless outing, and Mariano Rivera closed to get some work for the first time this month, ending the Yankees' season-high, three-game losing streak.

Jeremy Bonderman (1-2) struck out a season-best seven in a season-long seven innings.

Alex Rodriguez's two-out single in the first scored Brett Gardner, who singled and stole his 16th base this season. Mark Teixeira's two-out single in the third brought home Derek Jeter, who walked and stole second.

The Tigers won the opener 2-0 thanks to pitcher Rick Porcello and a two-run sixth.

They got exactly what it wanted from the first game, a long and successful outing from Porcello that set up a victory and gave an overused bullpen a break.

"We came out of this pretty good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We saved our bullpen."

Porcello (3-3) gave up four hits over seven innings, his best start of the year, and Magglio Ordonez drove in one of two runs in the sixth.

"It was a big confidence-booster for me and our team needed this to help out the bullpen," said Porcello, who gave up 22 runs his previous four starts.

Ryan Perry pitched a perfect eighth and Jose Valverde closed the game for his 10th save in 11 chances, celebrating with a pulsating squat on the mound.

Johnny Damon' hit helped Detroit take a 2-0 lead in the sixth.

Javier Vazquez (1-4) allowed only an infield hit through the first five innings, and struck out a season-high seven in seven innings.

"We lost the game, but it was a big step forward for me," he said.

Vazquez responded well to getting extra time to make some adjustments after giving up three homers -- matching a career high -- in a three-inning start May 1 in what was his shortest healthy outing since 2005.

Vazquez was cruising until Austin Jackson and Damon led off the sixth with singles. Ordonez followed with an RBI groundout, then Miguel Cabrera singled and Ordonez scored on Brennan Boesch's single.

"Javy pitched a good game, but we didn't get anything done to help him," Girardi said.

Porcello got out of jams in the second and fourth innings -- stranding five of the seven runners the Yankees left on base.

"Baseball is a strange game," Leyland said. "We go into the game with two pitchers that are struggling and both them looked like they've been pitching great all year."

Game notes
Girardi joked he got Yogi Berra a doubleheader for his 85th birthday on Wednesday, letting the Hall of Fame catcher watch his favorite team before and after dinner with his grandkids. ... The Yankees put RHP Alfredo Aceves on the DL with a back injury and replaced him with OF Greg Golson on the roster, whose first major league hit was in the ninth of the nightcap. ... Jackson, who New York dealt to Detroit in the Curtis Granderson deal, became the first player in the majors with 50 hits this season. ... Jay-Z and Eminem were at the game to promote their concerts on Sept. 2 at Comerica Park and Sept. 13 at Yankee Stadium.