First victory is gratifying to Twins' Hughes

Phil Hughes, who signed a $24 million, three-year deal in December, won for the first time in 17 appearances.

– His date with the left-hand column seemed intact, but Phil Hughes could not swing into a celebratory mood in the seventh inning on Sunday.

Hughes had just given up a two-run home run estimated at 403 feet to the Royals’ Alcides Escobar — and had just handed the ball to manager Ron Gardenhire as Brian Duensing entered from the bullpen to replace him. Hughes moved toward a dugout where its inhabitants barely moved toward him.

“They knew I was mad,” Hughes said. “That had nothing to do with pranking me. I wanted to get through that seventh.”

Hughes got into character after the final out of the Twins’ 8-3 victory over the Royals on Sunday. The left-hand column is the win column, and Hughes had earned his first victory in four tries with his new team. It was right on time, too: The Twins needed a stopper after losing the first two games of the three-game series.

The Twins gave Hughes a game ball once they were back in the clubhouse, and it was then that he could savor the moment after beginning the season 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in three starts since signing a three-year, $24 million contract with the Twins during the offseason under the expectations that he would help stabilize the rotation.

“This being my first time with a new team, it’s special,” Hughes said. “I’ll have to remember this one.”

Hughes had to get used to the winner’s circle for another reason: It had been more than eight months since his last victory of any kind. Hughes last won on July 2 of last season against the Twins at Target Field, holding them to one run over seven innings. Since then he had gone 0-8 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 games (16 starts). That run cemented his breakup with the Yankees, the team that drafted him one spot after the Twins selected Glen Perkins in 2004. And it set up his redemption tour with the Twins.

But the tour began with a few reruns. Three consecutive five-inning outings, and Hughes was not in the win column. Sunday, he was matched against Royals righthander Yordano “Future Ace” Ventura. The Twins gave Hughes a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Hughes had to work out of bases-loaded jam in the second, getting Nori Aoki to fly out to end the inning. There were runners on first and third with one out in the fifth when Salvador Perez laced a grounder up the middle that looked headed for the outfield.

Second baseman Brian Dozier, however, dived to his right to stop the ball and flipped the ball out of his glove to shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who completed an inning-ending double play. A play as fine as you will see.

“The guy hit the living fire out of it,” Gardenhire said, “and Dozier makes a backhand play and flips it with the glove. It’s a beautiful thing. Very athletic, and he is that. He can really do some things with that glove.”

Plays like that, in addition to a 13-hit attack Sunday that included three extra-base hits from Trevor Plouffe and a solo homer from Josmil Pinto (the rookie continues to take good at-bats), and Hughes was able to cruise. He threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of the 27 batters he faced, getting ahead 0-2 nine times. He believes in attacking, and he did it well enough to win Sunday.

“I felt like for the most part I was able to pound the zone pretty good,” he said. “It led to a few uncomfortable swings. That’s what I try to do.”

His next mission is to not take so much time between wins.

“Someone brought that up, last July, since my last one,” Hughes said. “Definitely nice to get one and hopefully get on a little run and pick up a few more.”

 

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com





 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Detroit000000003380
Minnesota «000101002490
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:G.Perkins(4-3) L:J.Nathan(4-4)
HR: DET- J.Martinez (23) MIN- K.Vargas (8)

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - LP: A. Ranaudo 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: C. Morton 4
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 8
Washington - WP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 9
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
Chicago WSox - WP: E. Surkamp 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 2
Detroit - LP: J. Nathan 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: G. Perkins 4
Milwaukee - WP: B. Kintzler 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 2
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 10
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1
Seattle - WP: C. Smith 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 2
Texas - WP: N. Tepesch 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 3
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 4 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 5
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close