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LAD@MIN: Hughes hammers a go-ahead two-run home run

MINNEAPOLIS -- After watching his friend and fellow Australia native Trent Oeltjen pick up four hits in the Dodgers' 15-0 rout on Monday, Twins first baseman Luke Hughes figured it was his turn to be the hero on Tuesday.

Hughes provided the big hit with a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning off left-hander Ted Lilly to help the Twins snap a six-game skid with a 6-4 win over the Dodgers in front of a sold-out crowd at Target Field

"It was great to watch Trent Oeltjen do his thing last night -- it was bittersweet watching him get four hits against us -- but tonight was a fantastic opportunity, getting a chance to face Lilly for a third time," Hughes said. "He got me out the first couple at-bats, but I was lucky enough to square one up and get it over there."

Hughes, who popped out to shortstop and flied out to center in his first two at-bats, said he received some tips from first baseman Justin Morneau for his third at-bat and was told to look for something in, and he was able to take that advice to heart by drilling a 2-1 sinker for his second homer of the year and his first since April 29.

"[Morneau] kind of pointed out a few things, and [Lilly] came in again, and I wish he had been coming in all night," Hughes said. "But I was able to get the barrel out and get one."

The homer was the final straw for Lilly, who gave up six runs on nine hits over just 4 2/3 innings, and also allowed four stolen bases.

"I think it was in but it was up, and it just didn't come out very good," said Lilly, who has served up 16 homers this year. "He kept it fair, and it cost us the game."

The homer helped bail out left-hander Brian Duensing, who was uncharacteristically wild -- walking four batters and plunking another -- and allowed four runs on four hits while striking out three over five-plus innings.

"I honestly felt like I did not know where the ball would go," Duensing said. "I was throwing a lot of strikes, and then the next thing you know -- I don't know if it was mental or not -- I didn't know where it would go. I was feeling for stuff and walking guys."

The offense, which hadn't scored more than three runs in any of its previous six games, finally broke out against the soft-tossing Lilly.

Joe Mauer got the Twins on the board in the first inning with an RBI single up the middle to score Ben Revere from third base after he singled, reached second on a sacrifice and stole third.

Minnesota added two more in the second with the help of Revere, who singled home a run and scored on a double from Alexi Casilla.

The Dodgers finally got on the board in the fourth, with a sacrifice fly from Matt Kemp coming after Duensing walked Tony Gwynn and Casey Blake to open the frame.

The Twins, though, came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, as Jason Repko was hit by a pitch and stole second before scoring on a single from Rene Rivera. It was all part of an impressive running game from the Twins, who stole four bases on the night.

"I thought we were very aggressive on the bases," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We scored some runs by being aggressive, and that's fun to watch."

Los Angeles broke through with three runs to tie the game in the fifth, with Aaron Miles connecting for a solo homer with one out before A.J. Ellis singled, Jamey Carroll walked and Blake walked again to load the bases with two outs. Andre Ethier then brought home two runs with a single up the middle to knot the score at 4.

But the Twins regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Hughes hit a two-run homer that knocked Lilly from the game.

Duensing came out for the sixth inning, but he hit Juan Uribe with a pitch to open the frame and was removed in favor of right-hander Alex Burnett, who was able to get out of the jam.

Burnett remained in the game for the seventh, and allowed a one-out single to Carroll before being relieved by left-hander Glen Perkins. The Twins got a break when first-base umpire Eric Cooper ruled Gwynn out at first base even though replays showed he beat the throw from Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Blake then singled into left field, but Carroll was out at home on an impressive throw from Repko and tag from Rivera.

Right-hander Joe Nathan also tossed a scoreless eighth after Perkins allowed a leadoff single to Ethier. Nathan struck out Kemp, got Uribe to ground out and struck out pinch-hitter James Loney to end the inning.

"Everything felt good," said Nathan, who used his fastball on 17 of his 19 pitches. "It was nice to get into a game where there was some adrenaline and some excitement facing some very good hitters. But I trusted my fastball, which is nice."

Matt Capps closed out the game for his 12th save, but didn't make it look easy with two walks before getting Blake to ground out to end the game.

"It was obviously an ugly game for us last night, so it was nice to put it past us," Nathan said. "It was a nice to bounce back with a win after such a bad loss last night. So, we'll see." Comments