Yanks' Hughes toes rubber vs. Baltimore

Phil Hughes makes what could be his final start this game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

Manager Joe Girardi has said that he will abandon the six-man rotation after his pitchers take one more turn, but Hughes could be the odd-man out after a pair of poor outings. He, of course, thrived out of the bullpen during the Yanks' World Series championship season of 2009, but won 18 games as a starter last season.

After lasting just 2 2/3 innings in a no-decision against Oakland, Hughes allowed six runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in Boston on Wednesday, as he fell to 4-5 on the year to go along with a 6.75 ERA.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty good," Girardi said afterward. "You're going to look up and he's going to give up six runs, but I thought he pitched better than that."

Hughes is 4-2 in 12 games (nine starts) against the Orioles.

The Yankees won their fifth straight game on Monday, as Jesus Montero hit the first two home runs of his major league career and Robinson Cano added a grand slam in New York's 11-10 win.

"I was dreaming of doing that before," Montero said. "I was always telling myself before, 'One day I'm going to be that guy.' It was amazing moment and an amazing feeling."

Mark Teixeira added a solo homer for the Yankees, who sit 2 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. Boston lost to Toronto in extra innings on Monday.

New York starter Freddy Garcia lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. Aaron Laffey (2-1) got the win after recording the final out in the fifth and the first in the sixth.

Mark Reynolds hit a two-run homer for the Orioles, who have dropped three straight and seven of nine overall. Nick Markakis and Robert Andino hit solo homers and drove in two runs apiece.

Brian Matusz continued to struggle on the mound, giving up five runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings. Jim Johnson (5-5) allowed three runs on four hits over three relief innings to take the loss.

Hoping to get the O's back on track tonight will be righty Tommy Hunter, who is 3-2 with a 5.26. Hunter was bothered by a stomach virus in his last start on Thursday against Toronto and it showed, as he gave up six runs (five earned) and nine hits in six innings, but escaped without a decision in the 8-6 loss.

Hunter beat the Yanks two starts ago and is 1-1 in three starts against them with a 6.06 ERA.

The Yankees are 12-3 against the Orioles this season. The finale of this set will be played at Camden Yards on Thursday.