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MIN@TOR: Hughes fans nine in seven shutout innings

As a member of the Yankees for seven seasons, Phil Hughes became well aware of the subtle quirks and nuances of Fenway Park.

In Tuesday's game against the Red Sox, Hughes will take the hill in Boston for the first time as a member of the Twins.

"This is a tough place to pitch because of the environment and the confines," Hughes said. "You have to limit the big innings. One swing here and it can be a big inning.

"You can't worry too much about the environment, though. You can't pitch too much to that. I just have to go out there and do a lot of the same things I've been doing and seeing how it plays out."

Hughes has found success of late -- tossing nine quality starts in his last 10 outings -- because he's been able to attack the strike zone and not be too fine with his pitches.

In his last start against Toronto, the right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and striking out nine. It marked Hughes' fifth win in eight starts.

"Some starts I'll find that my fastball is better than anything I have going," Hughes said. "Last time in Toronto, I felt my curveball was really working, so I went more with that. It just depends on the lineup and the day."

The Twins righty will need to toss one of his best performances with Red Sox ace Jon Lester set to toe the rubber.

However, Lester's had his difficulties against the Twins. In nine career starts against Minnesota, Lester is 1-4 with a 4.74 ERA. That marks his lowest winning percentage against any American League opponent with at least one decision.

The left-hander picked up his third win in four games Thursday against the Indians, allowing just two runs on eighth hits in 7 2/3 innings.

"He's really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said after facing Lester, "and he came out of the chute firing and looking really good. Trying to beat a pitcher like that, sometimes you have to try to get him out of the game."

Twins: Nunez held out of lineup
• For the second straight day, utility man Eduardo Nunez was held out with a strained right hamstring.

While Nunez was ruled out of Monday's game, manager Ron Gardenhire was encouraged that the veteran infielder was able to participate in an early workout with strength and conditioning coordinator Perry Castellanos.

"He's OK," Gardenhire said. "He did his thing. The trainers told me everything went good. Perry ran him through all his drills. He's day to day. Not sure how many days, but day to day."

While Nunez is on the right track for a return, the team has yet to put a timetable on it. The Twins just hope he'll be able to avoid a stint on the 15-day disabled list.

Red Sox: Farrell impressed by Holt
• Brock Holt has taken every opportunity with the Red Sox and run with it. Because of his ability to play any infield or outfield spot, Boston has been able to keep him in the lineup.

"The one thing that he has responded to is us putting him at any defensive position and he's handled it well. I wouldn't even hesitate to put him in center field if that were necessary," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "His newfound versatility has not only been an asset, but a luxury."

Holt has played four different positions for the Red Sox this season and leads all Major League rookies with a .333 average.

"He hasn't had a hangup mentally by going to another position. He has still maintained his aggressiveness on the defensive side," Farrell said. "We also haven't seen any ill effects on his approach at the plate. It speaks to his willingness and overall intelligence of knowing who he is as a player. He's gone out and performed very well."

Worth noting
• David Ortiz has hit 422 doubles as a member of the Red Sox, tied with Wade Boggs for fourth place on the club's all-time list.

• In their last nine games at Fenway Park, the Twins are 6-3 and have outscored the Red Sox, 52-34.

• Boston is 13-11 when facing a left-handed starter and 19-27 when opposing a righty. Comments