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Phil Hughes Continues to Look Strong as Yanks Top Twins, 8-1

Phil Hughes tossed his best outing of the season, commanding his fastball and inducing weak contact all night on the way to a dominant start in Minnesota. 

Over 7 2/3 innings, Hughes struck out two Twins and allowed only five baserunners, with his only mistake being a high fastball Trevor Plouffe hit into the left field seats. Luke Hughes provided the only other hit off Hughes in the eighth inning.

Following the home run, Hughes would settle down and, after walking Jason Kubel to start the second inning, he retired fourteen Twins in a row before Plouffe led off the seventh inning with a walk. 

Throughout the outing, Hughes averaged 91.5 mph on his fastball and hit as high as 93.3 mph on the radar gun. Of his 106 pitches, Hughes threw 70 of them for strikes (66%).

Hughes reminded the Yankees that he was once the top pitching prospect in baseball, and told all of his doubters that he belongs in this rotation. In his last four starts, Hughes has a 2.10 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 25 2/3 innings. All four starts have been of the quality variety. 

Boone Logan and Luis Ayala got the last four outs of the game during mop up duty.

On to the offense.

Kevin Slowey could not slow the Yankees offense down, as he allowed ten baserunners and six runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Russell Martin got the Yankees on the board in the third inning with his 14th homer of the season, tying the game at 1-1. In the fourth, back to back doubles from Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and a lead they would never relinquish.

The scoring continued in the fifth, as Curtis Granderson's double plated Brett Gardner and Teixeira's sac-fly scored Jeter, pushing the score to 4-1.

In the sixth, Jorge Posada's two out single allowed Russell Martin to come to the plate, and he delivered with his 15th homer of the season, and second of the night, to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead. 

In the ninth, Texieira's second double of the night drove home Jeter and Granderson and gave the Yankees an 8-1 lead. 

Overall, a fantastic night in Yankeeland. Hughes was dominant and the offense showed up with eight runs and secured themselves at least a split of this four game series. Only a Red Sox loss could have made it better.

A.J. Burnett will take the ball tomorrow night with his eyes set on a series win.

Box Score.

Play of the Game: A tie tonight. Martin's third inning homer and Cano's fourth inning RBI double each increased the Yankees' chances of winning by 11.4%.

Follow me on Twitter @frankiecamp48.