Mauer snapped an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI single in the third inning to get the Twins on top 1-0.
The Twins had a golden chance to extend the lead in the fourth inning when they opened with runners on second and third and none out. But Hughes steadied himself, striking out Chris Parmelee and Aaron Hicks and getting Pedro Florimon to groundout to end the inning unscathed.
"To get out of that inning it felt like it really swung the momentum in our favor just to get out of that inning without putting up a score and give our guys a chance to come back from that," Hughes said.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire agreed.
"That took the wind out of our sails," he said.
Hughes only allowed two baserunners the rest of the way to pick up just his second victory since May 10.
NOTES: The Twins gave Rivera a retirement gift in a pregame ceremony: a rocking chair made in part from broken bats with the inscription, "Chair of Broken Dreams." Rivera smiled widely. "I was expecting someone to do something like that with broken bats, but that was, that was awesome," he said. "That was great. That was wonderful. Made me laugh a lot." ... Nix did not play because of a sore right hamstring. He is day to day. ... Gardenhire said he was going to give struggling RHP Jared Burton a breather from his setup man role. He said he would look to get Burton into some situations where there was less pressure to help him try to regain his confidence. ... The Yankees will send LHP CC Sabathia (8-6, 4.15) to the mound for Game 3 on Thursday against RHP P.J. Walters (2-4, 6.03).