Rookie Zoilo Almonte had two more hits — both doubles — and is hitting .583 (7-for-12) since his Tuesday promotion from the minors.

His hot start has made him a bit of a fan favorite.

"It means a lot [to do well],’’ Almonte said through an interpreter. "This is a team with a lot of tradition, so it feels good that I’m up here able to do what I’ve been able to do so far."

But the Yankees’ 24-year-old outfielder also looked at a called third strike from Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning.

"Obviously it didn’t feel good,’’ Almonte said. "But that’s the way it was meant to be. Next time we’ll get them."

Hughes pushed back

Struggling Phil Hughes’ next start was pushed back to Thursday against the Texas Rangers. Joe Girardi chose to keep Hiroki Kuroda (Tuesday) and Andy Pettitte (Wednesday) in line for their scheduled starts. In his previous start Wednesday, Hughes allowed 10 hits and five runs in a loss to the Dodgers.

"Just because we’ve had so many off-days here, [I want] to keep everyone closer to a regular turn and get a couple extra bullpen sessions for him," Girardi said of Hughes.