It was pointed out to Phil Hughes that he was the only one in the ballpark that didn't see where the ball was after Eric Chavez hit it.

"Thanks," he said with a laugh.

Hughes, with his parents -- Phil Jr. and Dori -- in the ballpark having made the drive from their home in Southern California, came tantalizingly close to pitching a no-hitter Wednesday night in the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the A's. Chavez's chopped grounder, which banged off Hughes' left arm and ended up in front of the mound, hidden in plain sight (at least from Hughes), ended the bid in the eighth.

"I thought it went straight up and obviously it didn’t and I couldn’t find it in time," Hughes said. "Not really the way you want to give up a no-hitter but that’s the way it goes."

Hughes said later: "It seemed like I was looking for the ball for about eight minutes so I figured I didn't have a chance at him. That's the way it goes."

He said he joked in the dugout the play should have been scored an error.

"That's what I was saying to CC in the dugout, I was like I gotta have that ball, give me an error," he said.

A frustrating way to lose a no-hitter but Hughes, and everyone else, took from the night a pitcher looking the best he ever has as a starter.

"I’ll take 20, 30 more of these if I can," Hughes said. 

Jorge Posada said at most Hughes threw 10 curveballs and "was mainly fastball, cutter."

 The much discussed changeup from spring training stayed there.

"We didn’t need one tonight," Posada said.  

"That’s as good as it gets," Joe Girardi said. "His stuff was great tonight. Ahead in the count all night and he put them on the defense. His cutter was outstanding to the lefties, his curveball was great. His fastball command was great. That’s a brilliant performance."

Hughes threw 101 pitches, 70 for strikes.

"My command tonight was probably the best it’s ever been," he said.  

*** Girardi said after the game with Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera both pitching Wednesday and having both pitched Tuesday, neither was likely to get in Thursday's game.

"Other guys will have to step up if we need them," Girardi said.

Remember, Thursday is a local 12:35 p.m. start as CC Sabathia (2-0, 2.84) takes on lefty Dallas Braden (2-0, 2.70).

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