Michael Pineda opposes former Yankee Phil Hughes Friday night in Minnesota as the Yankees begin a 10-game road trip.

Pineda has a 1.64 ERA against the Twins in two career starts. A small sample, but Pineda will take it.

"I don't know, I try do the best on the mound and try to make a good pitch all the time and have good luck," he said of his starts against the Twins, who are 31-16 at home.

Pineda was the nominal ace of the staff when he struck out 16 and allowed one run against the Orioles May 10. That raised his record to 6-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.72. But he's 3-4 since and while he has 113 strikeouts in 1121/3 innings, he has not had a double-digit strikeout game since his masterpiece against Baltimore. He is 9-6 with a 3.77 ERA.

"Baseball is baseball, you have to pitch," he said of his inconsistency. "I'm feeling good right now, I'm feeling strong. I want to continue working hard, help my team make the playoffs."

Hughes is 1-1 against his former team. He is 8-6 with a 4.15 ERA. He has allowed 23 home runs and is creeping up on his career high of 35 with the Yankees in 2012.

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The road trip will also take the Yankees to Texas and Chicago. "This is obviously an important road trip, a long road trip and we need to continue to play well," Joe Girardi said.

Alex Rodriguez scored the third run on Chase Headley's first-inning double in a most comical way. He tripped heading toward the plate and swiped it with his hand. "He just tripped and everybody's laughing at him," John Ryan Murphy said.

Jacoby Ellsbury added, "He came in a little bit different but he crossed the plate. That's all that matters."

Rodriguez didn't wait around to give his own explanation.END