Yanks eye fifth straight win in middle tilt with O's

Due to consecutive rainouts this week, Phil Hughes has had plenty of rest. The right-hander steps to the mound on Saturday for the first time in a week and will try to help the Yankees win their fifth straight game.

The way New York's offense has been playing of late, Hughes could get a big boost, which may erase the memory of a loss in his initial start of 2012. The Yankees have posted 37 runs in the last four games, including a 5-2 victory on Friday.

Hughes, who began 2013 on the disabled list with a back problem, lasted four- plus innings last Saturday in an 8-4 loss at Detroit. In that game, he allowed eight hits and four runs -- three earned -- while compiling four strikeouts. Hughes didn't walk a batter.

During his career, Hughes has fashioned a 6-4 mark with a 5.10 ERA in 17 games (14 starts) against the Orioles.

The Yankees had games rained out Wednesday and Thursday in Cleveland. Andy Pettitte's back injury moved up Hughes' spot in the rotation one day. Hiroki Kuroda, the original starter for Saturday, was pushed back to Sunday.

Baltimore righty Jason Hammel will also try to bounce back from a defeat Saturday. Hammel gave up four hits and as many runs over 6 2/3 innings in a Sunday loss to the Twins. He's 1-3 with a 6.20 ERA in 14 games (8 starts) when facing the Yankees.

Adam Jones' fielding error with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed the deciding runs to score in last night's game. Jones couldn't handle a deep fly ball off the bat of Vernon Wells with two outs and the score tied at 2-2, with CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera protecting the lead over the final two innings.

The duo was aided by a triple play from the Yankees' defense that ended an Orioles' threat in the eighth.

"It was huge," said Yankees shortstop Jayson Nix of the rare feat. "CC was trying to get through that inning and they scored on him the inning before, so it was perfect timing."

Manny Machado went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Baltimore, which entered the set off a pair of wins at Boston, with J.J. Hardy also contributing a run-scoring single in defeat.

The Yankees had just one on and two out in the bottom of the seventh before Kevin Youkilis was intentionally walked and Baltimore reliever Troy Patton hit Travis Hafner with a pitch to fill the sacks. Vernon Wells followed with a drive to straightaway center that Jones was able to get a read on near the warning track, but had the ball pop out of his glove as all three runners crossed the plate to break the 2-2 deadlock.

"You could say whatever you want," Jones said. "I was there. Didn't catch it. Cost my team the game. Trust me, it's quite frustrating. Some days you're the hero, some days you're the goat."

The teams split 18 meeting last regular season.