Hughes falls victim to the longball
New York — Phil Hughes can become a free agent after the season and he certainly might benefit from leaving Yankee Stadium behind.
A flyball pitcher in the wrong ballpark for that, Hughes gave up three home runs to the slumping Minnesota Twins in their 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
Trevor Plouffe, Ryan Doumit and Pedro Florimon connected against Hughes - all on 2-2 pitches with one out. Plouffe sent a legit drive to left-center, but the other two balls probably wouldn't have left any other ballpark in the majors.
"I have a straight fastball, a four-seamer, that when I miss over the plate with it, it leads to flyballs. I just have to concentrate on location, and it comes down to execution," Hughes said.
Samuel Deduno pitched seven impressive innings for the Twins, who finally figured out a way to beat New York. Minnesota snapped a six-game losing streak with its second victory in 14 games, winning for the first time in six meetings with the Yankees this year.
New York won 32 of the previous 39 matchups, including a pair of playoff sweeps.
"It's frustrating," Hughes said. "I've felt good with my stuff over the last three or four starts. There's just one or two mistakes that I have to stay away from."
Beaten by Hughes earlier this month, Deduno (5-4) scattered six hits in his first start at Yankee Stadium. He struck out three, walked three and matched the longest outing of his career. The Yankees, who swept four games in Minnesota from July 1-4, had won three straight and nine of 12.
"Deduno was tough on us," manager Joe Girardi said. "He has a very good changeup and has given us trouble in the past."
Hughes (4-9) tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings but gave up three homers in a game for the second time this season. He has allowed 18 long balls in as many starts.
The 27-year-old right-hander has the lowest groundball-to-flyball ratio of any starter in the majors. He has served up 53 homers the past two seasons, second-most in the big leagues behind Ervin Santana (55).
• Alex Rodriguez struck out twice and went hitless Saturday in his latest minor league game, a day after declining to join the New York Yankees' Triple-A team.
Rodriguez was 0 for 3 for Class A Tampa, dropping to 2 for 18 with one RBI and five strikeouts during his injury rehabilitation assignment. Rodriguez met Friday in the Tampa with Major League Baseball officials investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
With rain in the area, the Yankees wanted Rodriguez to travel to Buffalo, where Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is playing this weekend, a person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press. Rodriguez told the Yankees he was too worn down to go, the person told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
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