Phil Hughes tries to get himself back on track this evening when the New York Yankees wrap up a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium.
After a so-so season debut, Hughes was awful on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he failed to get out of the fourth inning, surrendering six runs and eight hits in just 3 1/3 frames.
"I just threw too many balls in the middle of the plate," said Hughes, who needed 84 pitches to get 10 outs. "I felt like my stuff was pretty good. I just wasn't locating. There were a couple that hurt me really bad. I was hitting the glove but not necessarily in the spots I wanted to."
On the heels of an impressive spring, Hughes, who is 1-0 in four games (two starts) against the Twins with a 2.40 ERA, couldn't get out of the fifth inning of his first start against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I feel like I can succeed in this league," Hughes said. "It's something that I've done before and hopefully that I can do again. That sort of helps."
The Twins, meanwhile, will rely on righty Anthony Swarzak, who has lost both of his starts, but has received just one run of support in those outings. On Friday against the Texas Rangers, Swarzak surrendered four runs and nine hits in seven innings to get the loss. He had allowed a run in five frames in his previous setback.
"They hit some balls hard," Swarzak said. "I made some pitches when I needed to but the bottom line is I gave up four earned and we got the loss
Swarzak has faced the Yankees three times (one start) and is 0-1 against them with a 5.40 ERA.
The Twins guaranteed themselves at least a split of this series on Wednesday, as Justin Morneau hit a pair of homers, knocked in three runs and scored three times in Minnesota's 6-5 win. Joe Mauer, Jamey Carroll and Sean Burroughs all added an RBI for the Twins, who had lost three in a row coming into this series.
Jason Marquis (1-0) gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings to pick up the win in his season debut.
"He's got courage and he knows how to pitch," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire about Marquis. "He's a veteran and he knows what he's doing out there. It wasn't pretty, but he got it done."
Robinson Cano hit a solo homer and knocked in two runs for the Yankees, who fell to 6-6 on the young season. Derek Jeter added a solo shot and Nick Swisher had two RBI.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-2) allowed six runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 frames to take the loss. Kuroda was coming off a brilliant performance in his Bronx debut last Friday, when he gave up five hits over eight-plus innings to get the win.
"He was up most of the game," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi about Kuroda. "He didn't have his good sinker tonight that he had against the Angels and they made him pay."
Still, the Twins have won just four of their last 14 and nine of their last 35 in the Bronx.