(SportsNetwork.com) - Phil Hughes goes after a sixth straight winning decision on Tuesday when the Minnesota Twins continue a four-game set with the Texas Rangers at Target Field.
Hughes has been impressive for the Twins and is coming off a brilliant effort his last time out in San Diego. The righty scattered seven hits and struck out seven over seven scoreless innings to improve to 5-1 to go along with a 3.15 ERA.
"He's in that mode where he just trusts his stuff," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's relaxed a little bit now and he just feels it coming out of his hand."
He has given up just three runs this month and has a 1.03 ERA in May, which is the second lowest by a Twins pitcher for the month in club history. Jim Hughes pitched to a 0.87 ERA and was 6-0 in May 1976.
The Twins' record for lowest ERA for any month is Johan Santana's 0.45 mark in 2004. In fact, Santana and Hughes are two of just five Twins pitchers since 1961 to post an ERA below 1.00 for any month. Bill Krueger had an 0.84 ERA in April 1992, Bill Dailey had a 0.90 ERA in June 1963 and Francisco Liriano had a 0.93 ERA in April 2010.
Hughes, who is 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last six starts, has also not walked a batter in 26 1/3 innings in May.
"Of course I'm trying not to walk guys," Hughes said. "Sometimes, it's just going to happen. Lately I've been able to throw a lot of strikes and avoid that. But sometimes you're going to miss. It's physical. It's human. You're not going to make a perfect pitch every single time. I tell myself out there, 'If I'm going to miss, I'm going to miss on the plate.' Throw strikes, be aggressive, because I feel like my stuff is good enough to get away with mistakes over the plate."
Hughes has faced the Rangers six times (5 starts) and is 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA against them.
Texas, meanwhile, will counter with an impressive righty of its own in Yu Darvish, who has won three of his last four decisions. Darvish beat the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, as he limited them to a pair of runs over seven innings to run his record to 4-2, but slightly raised his ERA to 2.35.
Darvish is 0-1 in two starts against the Twins with a 2.92 ERA.
Texas won its third straight game in Monday's opener, as Nick Tepesch spun 6 2/3 solid innings to help guide the Rangers to a 7-2 victory. Elvis Andrus collected three hits to go along with a pair of RBI and Chris Gimenez drove in two runs for the Rangers, who have won six of their last eight.
"We got to keep it up. I just want us to continue to stay consistent and continue to get better," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
Tepesch (2-0) allowed just two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts to win consecutive decisions for the first time in his young career.
Kevin Correia (2-6), who was 3-0 against the Rangers entering the game, yielded four runs on seven hits over seven frames to absorb the loss.
"It was a situation where one pitch here and there, and we're up and their down," said Correia.
Trevor Plouffe blasted a solo home run for the Twins, who have lost four straight contests.
Minnesota took four of its seven meetings with the Rangers last season.