(Sports Network) - Phil Hughes goes after win No. 9 this afternoon when the New York Yankees try to complete a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium.
Hughes has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, posting an 8-1 mark to go along with a 2.71 earned run average. His eight wins have matched a career-high and are one off the pace of AL leader David Price, while his ERA ranks among the league leaders, as well.
He won his third straight start on Tuesday in Baltimore, as he allowed three runs and a season-high nine hits in six innings to get the victory. This will be his first-ever start against the Astros.
"My stuff just wasn't great," Hughes said. "Command-wise, I was a little bit off. You have these days, and you battle and hope that we do score enough runs."
Hughes should have a familiar face behind the plate, as Jorge Posada is expected to catch for the first time since May 16. Posada has served as the team's designated hitter since returning from a broken right foot.
Posada belted a grand slam on Saturday and Derek Jeter homered twice to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 win.
Javier Vazquez (6-5) won his third straight start, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings. He struck out six, did not walk a batter and has now won five of his last six decisions.
"I was throwing strikes, that's the bottom line. I didn't think I had real good stuff, but I battled out there," said Vazquez.
Jeter also walked, scored three times and drove in four for New York, which has won 10 of its last 13 games. It was Jeter's ninth career multi-homer effort and first since Aug. 27, 2006.
Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence both had solo home runs and Jeff Keppinger provided an RBI double for the Astros, who had won three in a row before dropping the first two games of this weekend set.
Wandy Rodriguez (3-9) fell for the fifth time in six starts after giving up seven hits and eight runs while walking five over five-plus innings.
Hoping to avoid the brooms today for the Astros will be journeyman right- hander Brian Moehler, who is 0-2 on the year with a 6.12 ERA. He has not received a decision in either of his last two starts and on Tuesday in Colorado surrendered three runs in six innings of his team's 4-3 win.
Moehler is 3-6 lifetime versus the Yanks with a 5.09 ERA in 11 starts.
New York swept the Astros in a three-game set in Houston in 2008 and is 7-1 all-time against them.