That was, of course, one way to look at Phil Hughes' shortest outing of the season.

Hughes, on an innings limit believed to be in the neighborhood of 175, is at 1441/3 after lasting just 3 2/3 innings tonight, allowing five runs, six hits and five walks.

And he needed 102 pitches to get that far, a number he’d throw in a typical six- or seven-inning start, though Girardi said: "It’s still 3 2/3 innings," meaning the total is what matters. 

There would seem to be some disconnect there but Girardi said: "[He] worked harder today but he had an extra day’s rest and he’ll get an extra day’s rest again."

Still, as Girardi said, "There's no real silver lining." 

The Yankees couldn't capitalize on Tampa's loss earlier in the day, so the teams remain tied for the division lead. 

“You have 100 pitches to work with and I can’t get through four…I definitely didn’t do my job as a starter,” Hughes said. “Fortunately, Javy came in to kind of save some of those arms out there [in the bullpen]. But when you’re coming into a series and you have to win this third game and I go out there and kind of lose it for us right off the bat, it’s pretty tough to swallow.” 

Hughes, as has been the case in most of his loss -- and some of his victories -- this year had problems putting hitters away. 

Of the first 10 Blue Jays who reached base, Hughes had two strikes on all of them and 12 of the 18 hitters he got two strikes on overall reached.

“That stat can’t happen,” Hughes said
 
"It’s a command issue for the most part," Hughes said of the problem of putting people away. "I feel like if I put some of those pitches in better locations I’d get some better results. Tonight seemed like it was one of those nights where it was either strikeouts or something hit hard and a ton of foul balls. I run into those outings every now and then. Sometimes I can battle through; tonight it just seemed like a real struggle."

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Though not for Javier Vazquez, who pitched very well making his second relief appearance of the season.

“I was aggressive, threw strikes and didn’t try to be too fine today,” said Vazquez, who touched 90 mph with his fastball several times and retired the last 10 hitters he faced. “I felt good out there. To go out there and throw some zeroes up there is good for me.”

*** The Yankees are off Thursday before starting a three-game series against the White Sox Friday night in Chicago. Nick Swisher, a late scratch from tonight's game with soreness in his left knee, said after tonight's game he had "no doubt" he'll be able to play Friday.

Back with you from Chicago on Friday when it will be A.J. Burnett (9-11, 4.80) taking on Freddy Garcia (10-5, 5.08).