Having the highest fly ball rate in the majors and throwing pitches on a humid day when balls are flying out of a stadium can be a difficult combination for a starting pitcher.
That was the tandem that spoiled Phil Hughes’ afternoon as he allowed a career-high four home runs in 4 1/3 innings in Wednesday’s 10-5 loss to the Braves.
Hughes came into his 14th start of the season with a fly ball ratio of 49.1 percent, a number that accounts for any type of fly ball. He broke a string of 12 straight starts with a home run Friday in Washington when 10 of the at-bats against him ended in fly balls or line drives.
Four of Atlanta’s 11 fly balls went over the wall Wednesday as Freddie Freeman, Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and David Ross all homered.
Freeman slugged a first-pitch fastball into the Yankee bullpen beyond the right-center field wall for a 3-0 lead with two outs in the first inning. Prado parked a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats with one out in the third.
In the fourth, Heyward saw another fastball and drove the 1-2 pitch off the right field foul pole for a 5-1 lead. An inning later, Ross sent a 0-2 curveball into the left field seats near the visiting bullpen.
The home runs proved too much for the Yankees, who lost their second in a row despite hitting four home runs off Tommy Hanson. Hanson served up solo shots to Derek Jeter, Eric Chavez, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.
The Yankees nearly pulled off the comeback from five runs down. They made it a one-run game on Curtis Granderson’s double off Chad Durbin, but Rodriguez hit into an inning-ending double play in the seventh.
That was the closest the Yankees got as Boone Logan allowed a two-run home run to Jason Heyward in the eighth.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.