Yankees hitting on all cylinders

With Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte hitting their stride, the Yankees have been tough to beat. US Presswire

After getting off to a good start this season, the New York Yankees slumped in the first three weeks of May. But they have come back with a vengeance in June. Fueled largely by their pitching, the Bronx Bombers have won nine in a row and 19 of their past 23. As a result, they move up to second overall in this week's ESPN Power Rankings, their highest spot since they started the season in the top spot.

The Yankees have put the clamps on opposing hitters all month. During the month of June, they have allowed a major league-low 36 runs. And in a twist, one-third of those runs this month have been allowed by the team's best pitcher, CC Sabathia. The other four starters -- Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova -- have allowed just 15 runs in 84 1/3 innings. The starting staff has really taken shape since Andy Pettitte returned. The seemingly ageless lefty, who came out of retirement to make his season debut on May 13, has given the Yankees at least six innings in all seven of his outings, five of which were quality starts. He is generating a better swinging strike percentage (11.2) than he has in any season since FanGraphs began tracking the stat in 2002.