Twins hit three home runs off Vidal Nuño in 6-1 win over Yankees
Phil Hughes was in the house Friday night as his Twins visited Yankee Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, starter Vidal Nuño did his best Hughes impression -- the Hughes who gave up 17 home runs in 781/3 innings while going 1-10 in the Bronx last season.
Nuño allowed three homers to the light-hitting Twins in the Yankees' 6-1 loss before 42,245. He has given up nine home runs this season, all in 281/3 innings at Yankee Stadium.
But the bandbox in the Bronx couldn't be blamed for any of the three Friday night. Oswaldo Arcia, Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe hit no-doubters.
"When he made a mistake, they hit it out of the ballpark," manager Joe Girardi said.
Nuño (1-2) has scary home/road splits this season. He gave up four runs in 62/3 innings, which actually lowered his home ERA to 7.94 in six games (five starts). On the road, the lefthander is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA in five games (three starts).
After Nuño struck out three of the first four Twins, Arcia took him out to the second deck in right in the second inning to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees tied it in the third against Ricky Nolasco (3-5) when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-out double to drive in Brett Gardner.
Willingham led off the fourth with a long homer to left-center. After Arcia singled, Plouffe homered onto the netting above Monument Park in center to give the Twins a 4-1 lead.
The Twins entered the game 26th in the majors with 39 home runs. They last hit three homers against the Yankees at the Stadium last July 13. Against Hughes.
Nolasco entered the game with a 6.12 ERA, which was second-worst in the majors for regular starters. Twins righthander Kevin Correia, who starts Saturday against Masahiro Tanaka, is worst at 6.34.
But Nolasco allowed only one run in six innings, helped by a rare baserunning mistake by Derek Jeter in the fifth.
With Gardner on second and one out, Jeter singled to right. Arcia uncorked a throw home that reached Kurt Suzuki on the fly as Gardner wisely held up at third. But second baseman Brian Dozier snuck in behind Jeter as he continued toward second and got him in a rundown.
The Twins eventually turned their attention to running down Gardner as Jeter made it to third, but Gardner was tagged out by Suzuki for a 9-2-4-2-5-2 second out. Ellsbury fouled to third for the third out.
"My job in that situation is if you think there's a play at the plate, you read the throw high and then you try to go to second base," Jeter said. "You trade an out for a run. But Gardy wasn't going. So it's not my job to think it's going to happen. I've got to make sure he's going. He snuck behind me. Good play by them, but I assumed he was going and I shouldn't have assumed that."
The Yankees also lost a baserunner in the second when Brian Roberts was picked off by Nolasco (it officially was scored as a caught stealing because he headed to second) after a leadoff single. And Arcia made a one-hop throw to the plate to nail Roberts in the sixth when he tried to score on a two-out single by Yangervis Solarte.
The Twins scored twice against Preston Claiborne in the eighth on RBI singles by Suzuki and Eduardo Nuñez.
Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees' lineup after a three-game absence because of tendinitis in his surgically repaired right wrist. Teixeira went 0-for-1 with three walks.
Along with Hughes -- who will start for the Twins on Sunday -- former Yankee Nuñez returned to the Bronx and went 1-for-4 as the designated hitter. Both players received hearty hellos from Girardi behind the batting cage before the game.