MINNEAPOLIS - The easy narrative from Friday night's 10-1 loss to the Twins would be the Yankees, strong at home all season, getting a degree of comeuppance on the road to start a three-city, 10-game trip.
And while it is true that they have been far better at the Stadium this season than on the road -- 30-17 compared to 23-25 -- that ignores the central truth of the loss: the way Michael Pineda pitched, home or away, the Yankees get beat.
Pineda (9-7, 3.97) turned in a second straight rough outing, allowing five runs and eight hits in 52/3 innings. "Location," Brian McCann said. "You get 32 starts a year, sometimes you don't have your best stuff. Tonight he didn't have his best stuff."
Pineda was dramatically outpitched by Phil Hughes, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Yankees before signing a free-agent deal with the Twins before the 2014 season.
Holding a 5-0 lead in the seventh, Hughes -- who allowed no runs and seven hits, walked none and struck out three in seven innings -- fanned McCann and Carlos Beltran. Singles by Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew loaded the bases, but Hughes got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a soft liner to left.
Hughes (9-6, 3.93) is 5-0 with a 2.44 ERA in his last seven starts, walking only three in 48 innings in that span.
The Yankees, who hit their share of bullets right at people, were grudging in their praise of Hughes. "I don't want to take anything away from Phil, but we hit the ball pretty hard," Joe Girardi said. "They happened to be standing where we hit it and made some really good plays behind him. I thought we hit the ball a lot better than one run."
Headley was a little more complimentary, though not much.
"Not taking anything away from him, but obviously we swung the bats better than it showed," he said. "He didn't give us anything free, he attacked the zone, he threw strikes and they scored some runs for him. That's a good combination for him."
The Yankees (53-42) had 10 hits, three by Mark Teixeira. The Twins (52-44) had 14, including four home runs and five doubles, three by Eddie Rosario.
The Twins got on the board with two outs in the first inning. Torii Hunter singled with one out and went to second on Joe Mauer's groundout. Miguel Sano, 22, signed as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, then muscled a hanging slider over the wall in dead center for a 2-0 lead. Minnesota added one in the second and two in the fourth to make it 5-0.
"In the first couple innings, I made a couple of mistakes with my slider," Pineda said. "That's going to happen when you make mistakes."
Branden Pinder allowed a homer by Hunter in the seventh and Chris Capuano gave up homers by Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier in a four-run eighth. The Yankees scored an unearned run in the ninth on Ellsbury's sacrifice fly.
It was a disappointing start to the trip, but the Yankees entered the game a season-best 12 games over .500 and still have a 51/2-game lead -- seven in the loss column -- in the AL East.
"Certainly we're built to play at home, but I don't think that prohibits us from playing well on the road," Headley said. "I would imagine we're close to .500 [on the road], which is what you hope to do. You're supposed to play well at home and play .500 on the road."