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The Yankees score nine runs in the third

NEW YORK -- As he walked to the mound with a 12-run lead for the fourth inning, one of the last words Phil Hughes expected to be using to describe his evening would have been "frustrating."

Yet on a sweltering evening that featured a 100-degree first pitch, marking a record for this incarnation of Yankee Stadium, what other adjective was there to use?

Despite the backing of a nine-run third inning, Hughes couldn't qualify for the decision and needed his bullpen to pick up the remainder of the workload as the Yankees posted a 17-7 victory over the Athletics on Friday.

"It was a rough one," said Hughes, who was relieved after 98 pitches with one out in the fifth. "Fortunately, we swung the bats really well and were able to win the game."

Hughes was the beneficiary of terrific run support last year on the way to a career-high 18 wins, and that habit emerged in force Friday as the Yankees sent Oakland starter Trevor Cahill to an early shower.

After New York's five-run second inning, Nick Swisher cracked a three-run homer -- on his way to tying a career high with five RBIs -- and Mark Teixeira connected for a grand slam as 13 Yankees batted in the third.

"That's exactly what we needed," Swisher said. "It's a big win for us, and a nice way to start off the homestand."

For Teixeira, it was his 26th homer but first since June 30, and the switch-hitting slugger said he'd certainly taken notice of the gap between deep drives.

"That was big for me," said Teixeira, who complained his left-handed stroke has felt a bit off. "July has not been kind to me. Hopefully, that will get me going."

The nine-run outburst was the most for any single inning this year by the Yankees, and it greased the way for New York to post its 11th straight win over Oakland.

"If you're losing, and losing consistently to a team, I'd hate to think it gets in your head," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You play a team enough to where you should win some games from time to time."

Oakland wouldn't get that victory on Friday, but neither would Hughes. The right-hander started the fourth inning by drilling Kurt Suzuki, and then served up a two-run homer to Cliff Pennington, part of a three-run frame.

With the heat still steaming in the mid-90s and Hughes' pitch count escalating to that area as well, manager Joe Girardi had to pluck the ball away and offer it to long reliever Hector Noesi in the fifth.

"Not what you want to do," Girardi said.

Noesi allowed a two-run double to Jemile Weeks that brought around the last of seven runs charged to Hughes, then spun 3 2/3 innings of four-hit ball to snag the victory.

"For me, I think it's easy," Noesi said. "I'm able to think positive. I was just excited."

Some motivation helped, Noesi said. He said that his parents had been expected to travel from the Dominican Republic late Friday; as it turned out, their flight was delayed, but Noesi didn't know that at the time.

"I was thinking, 'OK, let me do this quick,'" Noesi said.

Hughes stressed that he was most frustrated not by his inability to qualify for the victory, but more by his overall performance, especially a lack of success with two strikes on hitters.

"Fastball command was an issue, for sure," Hughes said. "It was a struggle tonight to locate my fastball where I needed to, and put guys away."

Girardi asked for patience in Hughes' case, as the hurler has made three starts since returning from the disabled list -- one so-so start in Cleveland, one encouraging one in Toronto, and now this one.

"You've got to look at it as, it's a blip," Girardi said. "Because of the struggles he's had, maybe we can over-evaluate one start."

Perhaps not so with Cahill, who has had absolutely no luck with the Yankees, dispatched to his fourth loss in four career starts against them.

"Our whole approach was [to] make sure you get the ball up in the zone, and I thought we did a great job of that tonight," Swisher said.

New York put up five runs off Cahill in the second inning, including Derek Jeter's two-run single, the captain's 3,011th career hit -- preceded by a fortunate call at first base on Brett Gardner's infield hit.

That hit bumped Jeter ahead of former teammate Wade Boggs for sole possession of 25th place on the all-time list.

Of course, Boggs and Jeter are already inextricably linked -- they are the only two players in Major League history to homer for their 3,000th hit.

By evening's end, there was another player beginning a climb on the other end of that list. Yankees rookie Brandon Laird singled off Craig Breslow in the eighth inning for his first career hit.

Later, Curtis Granderson said the triple-digit first pitch temperature -- the highest for a Yankees home game since July 5, 1999 against the Orioles, which also started at 100 degrees -- wasn't so terrible.

"There was a little bit of a breeze," Granderson said. "The night came and it didn't feel too bad out there."

It was, Hughes would agree, much worse to be cooling off in the clubhouse so early in the night.

"Personally, I know it needs to be better," he said. Comments