"There's still a lot of time. The teams in front we're going to play a lot, but you don't' want to dig yourself a big hole," Girardi said.
Hughes (4-10) had his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs and six hits while striking out one and walking one.
The Southern California native got through the first inning unscathed but was roughed up in the second and third innings. He allowed singles to Will Venable and Chris Denorfia opening the second before Mark Kotsay hit a sacrifice fly. He then walked Nick Hundley before Kennedy sacrificed ahead of Everth Cabrera's two-run single.
Hughes again put on the first two batters in the third, allowing a single to Alexi Amarista and walking Chase Headley, and again, both scored. Denorfia hit a sacrifice fly and Kotsay hit an RBI single with two outs, chasing Hughes.
"He couldn't put people away," Girardi said. "The bottom line is, he didn't make pitches when he had to."
Hughes, who's 0-3 in his last five starts, agreed.
"I blew an opportunity there in the second to get an out, two outs, and it comes down to not making quality pitches when I had to," he said. "There were runners in scoring position and a lot of long counts and just a battle the entire time. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to execute a couple of big pitches with two outs."
It was the sixth time this season he's gone four innings or fewer.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Michael Pineda came out of his start with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night with shoulder stiffness, and Girardi said he will be evaluated by doctors this week. Coming off April 2012 surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, Pineda is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 minor league starts this year. ... The Yankees open a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox on Monday night, with LHP Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.28 ERA) scheduled to oppose LHP Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.62).