Javier Vazquez was the first to declare this afternoon was “just one game,” and too soon to say he was out of his early-season slump.

But there’s no doubt, he said, that he “needed” the kind of start he had, allowing just two runs and five hits in the Yankees 2-0 loss.

“Obviously, everybody knows that I needed a good game,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez, of course, was skipped last Friday in Boston and while he wasn’t prepared to say that extra rest – and extra work in the bullpen – correlated to this afternoon’s performance, he said it certainly didn’t hurt.

“It just gave me a breather I guess,” Vazquez said. “As a pitcher you want to go out there every five days but the way I was throwing the ball, I was not throwing the ball well and I was not helping the team, so it just gave me a breather, helped me relax a bit and [to be able] to work on some things. It helped.”

“Javy pitched a good game,” Girardi said. “Unfortunately we didn’t score any runs, we had a couple opportunities early on and we just couldn’t get it done. But Javy threw the ball great. Very pleased with what he did.”

Vazquez boiled his good start down to having command of his fastball he didn’t have in previous starts, and Girardi agreed.

“Whenever you pitch better you have better command, that’s the bottom line,” Girardi said. “I thought he commanded the baseball a lot better. All his pitches.”

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Vazquez’s teammates were happy to see him have the kind of outing he did.

“I was proud for him, he pitched great,” said Andy Pettitte, who threw his normal bullpen today and is still in line to pitch Saturday. “It’s a good one to build on right here for sure.”

Said Jorge Posada: “I’m really happy for him. I’m always going to be in his corner. I care for the guy. The guy’s a true professional. He goes out there and he doesn’t make any excuses and pitches the ballgame.”

Game 2 of the doubleheader coming up at 7:05. The lineup as Phil Hughes (4-0, 1.69) takes the mound against Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 5.74):

Jeter dh
Gardner cf
Teixeira 1b
A-Rod 3b
Cano 2b
Swisher rf
Thames lf
Cervelli c
Pena ss