"That backing helps. The confidence with the organization is certainly a good thing," Hughes said. "It doesn't mean anything if you don't go out there and do it for them. The consistency has got to be there. Obviously, I've been inconsistent this year so far, but hopefully with a couple good outings, I can carry that on and be a consistent guy they can rely on."
In his last start in Detroit, Hughes allowed just four hits and a run, showing flashes of his brilliant 2010 season, when he won 18 games and made the All-Star team. But in his last start before the complete game, Hughes had a tough homecoming. Returning to his home city of Anaheim, Hughes got shelled by the Angels, giving up seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He attributed the rough outing to getting too excited prior to the game, overthrowing his pitches and losing sight of the adjustments he's worked on recently.
Despite Hughes' inconsistencies, Girardi believes the 25-year-old right-hander isn't far from becoming a front-line starter again. The Yankees' manager said for Hughes to find long-standing success, he needs to replicate the command of the strike zone he displayed against the Tigers.
"I think he's capable of getting back to that form," Girardi said. "What I saw in Detroit was his fastball seemed to be pretty true. It wasn't coming back. He was able to stay away from right-handers without leaking back. He was able to go in on right-handers. It was probably the best job he had done with expanding with his curveball. It's usually a strike curveball in a sense, but I thought he expanded down in the zone and got some swings and misses. Those were the things that impressed me about that night."
While Hughes got roughed up in Anaheim, the Yankees' offense bailed him out. He hasn't received a losing decision since May 17. Hughes is 1-1 against the Mets for his career with a 4.20 ERA.
"It's not always good start after good start," Hughes said. "If you have those bad ones in there, you just try and learn from them, but at the same time, erase your memory. When you do have a good one, hopefully you can have a few more."
His opponent, Dillon Gee, is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA against the Yankees, but he has turned in four straight quality starts. In Gee's last outing against the Cardinals, he allowed two earned runs over seven innings, striking out eight in a 5-4 loss in the series finale.
After Mets starter Johan Santana gave up four home runs and six earned runs over five innings in the Subway Series opener on Friday, Gee will try to stop the bleeding in his first start at the new Yankee Stadium. He'll try to give his team a chance to win the first of two series between the clubs this season.
"I think it's obviously a little bit more exciting for the fans than for the players," Gee said of the Subway Series. "For us, it's another series, and every series is big."
Following Friday's 9-1 Yankees win, the Bombers remain a half-game out of first place in the American League East. The Mets dropped to 2 1/2 games behind Washington in the NL East.
Mets: Rauch back in action
After aggravating his right elbow against the Cardinals on Monday, Jon Rauch returned to the mound on Friday night. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning against the Yankees, allowing one hit.
Rauch sustained the injury in Gee's last start. Manager Terry Collins said the discomfort appeared after Rauch warmed up in the bullpen and took the mound. He served up a two-run home run in two-thirds of an inning before exiting the game.
The discomfort was caused by debris in his throwing elbow, which he initially shrugged off as soreness.
Yankees: Robertson making rehab appearance
David Robertson could rejoin the Yankees as soon as next week. He'll make a rehab appearance on Sunday. Robertson said it's likely he'll be headed to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the outing.
Robertson anticipated he'd make two appearances before returning. Girardi said he doesn't necessarily need to see his right-handed reliever make back-to-back appearances. Robertson is recovering from a strained oblique muscle he suffered on May 11.
The Yankees hit back-to-back-to-back home runs for the first time since August 28, 2011, when the same trio of Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andrew Jones went deep in three straight at-bats.
Santana had his scoreless streak snapped at 19 innings when Cano hit his second-inning home run.