New York Yankees' Phil Hughes (65) leaves the field after...

New York Yankees' Phil Hughes (65) leaves the field after retiring the Baltimore Orioles in the 7th inning. (June 2, 2010) Credit: Photo by John Dunn

Phil Hughes looked angry. Really angry.

The Yankees young righthander had just followed an RBI single to Ty Wiggington - which produced the lone run for the Orioles in the sixth inning - with a walk to Luke Scott. And before things went south in a hurry, pitching coach Dave Eiland journeyed from the dugout and approached his young pupil.

Hughes, not one for showing much emotion, appeared frustrated, most likely because he was one out away from yet another scoreless inning when Wiggington stepped to the plate and lined a shot to the rightfield corner.

But the one thing the 23-year-old has proven this season is he can work way out of jams as quickly as he can get into them. After walking Scott, Hughes struck out Matt Wieters on three pitches to end the threat.

The righthander scattered six hits over seven innings and improved to 7-1 (the same number of wins as Andy Pettitte) with an 2.54 ERA as the Yankees defeated Baltimore, 9-1, last night at the Stadium.

More importantly, Hughes proved losses to Boston and the Mets last month were mere aberrations, rather than cause for concern.

He went 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA over those two games, but returned to his old form against Cleveland on Friday. He gave up two runs while striking out eight in seven innings in an 8-2 victory over the Indians.

Hughes had entered Wednesday's game 2-2 with a 6.67 ERA in his last six starts versus the Orioles. He did, however, have a strong performance against them April 27, giving up one run and two hits in 52/3 innings during a 5-4 Yankees' loss.

But Hughes was sharp from the start, retiring the first four batters he faced until Scott doubled to rightfield in the second. The Yankees pitcher ran into trouble in the next inning, as Cesar Izturis and Miguel Tejada singled to put to on with two out. But Hughes got Nick Markakis to pop out to third baseman Alex Rodriguez to end the inning.

The only run he gave up came in the sixth inning when he gave up a double to Miguel Tejada, who came around to score on Wiggington's single to rightfield.

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