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).
"I thought it was some of the better stuff he's had all year," Girardi said. "I think he threw the ball exceptionally well except for a few mistakes."
Casey Fien pitched a scoreless eighth and All-Star closer Glen Perkins, making his first appearance in a week, got three outs for his 21st save in 23 chances.
"Exciting baseball game," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, ejected in the eighth for arguing a call at first base. "That was needed. It's been a tough go here to get a win, so to see the guys smile again is very exciting."
About 13 hours after the Yankees finished a rain-delayed shutout Friday night, the teams were back on the field.
New York jumped on top in the first inning when Ichiro Suzuki doubled and scored on Robinson Cano's single. Deduno got Vernon Wells to ground into an inning-ending double play and settled in from there.
The right-hander, who pitched the Dominican Republic to the World Baseball Classic championship in March, received some help when Doumit caught Zoilo Almonte stealing second with a runner on third to end the fourth. Deduno struck out Suzuki with two on to finish the fifth and worked around a one-out double in the seventh.
Plouffe tied it in the second and Doumit put the Twins ahead in the seventh with a line drive to right.
"That's a single at Target Field. It might be an L-9," Doumit said, referring to Minnesota's pitcher-friendly home. "This is a great place to hit."
Girardi was well aware of that.
"A lot of places that's not a homer but we've taken advantage of that, too," he said.
Gardenhire was tossed by plate umpire Vic Carapazza in the eighth after Clete Thomas and was called out for interference when Hughes' throw to first hit him in the back and bounced away. Aaron Hicks, who opened the inning with a bunt single, was sent back to first base.
Florimon followed with his fifth home run, a high fly that cleared the short porch in right to make it 4-1.
NOTES: LHP CC Sabathia (9-7, 3.99 ERA) pitches New York's final game before the All-Star break Sunday against Twins RHP Kyle Gibson (1-2, 7.27), who will make his fourth big league start. Sabathia is 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last 12 starts against Minnesota, including the postseason, since Aug. 3, 2007. ... Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery) was scheduled to play one game in a doubleheader for Class-A Tampa. ... The Yankees wore camouflage caps, with a camouflage pattern inside the numbers and logos on their uniforms, on Military Appreciation Day. ... Injured SS Derek Jeter (strained quadriceps) stayed home with a stomach bug but is expected back at the ballpark Sunday, Girardi said. ... There was a moment of silence before the game on the third anniversary of former owner George Steinbrenner's death.