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Hughes pitches well, but slumping Twins lose 2-1 to Red Sox

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BOSTON - Phil Hughes did just about everything he could on the mound to keep Minnesota in the game. The Twins hitters didn't do enough against Red Sox pitching to get him a win.

Hughes allowed just a pair of early runs in an eight-inning complete game against Boston on Tuesday night, but the slumping Twins mustered only four hits in a 2-1 loss.

"That's what's frustrating," said Joe Mauer, who drove in Minnesota's lone run with a double in the sixth inning. "When you have a performance like Phil's, you want to get some runs to support him. We didn't do that."

Hughes (7-3) scattered eight hits, struck out six and didn't walk a batter, extending his streak to 25 straight innings without a walk.

"Normally in years past, that's a feat to come into here and pitch a pretty good ballgame. Unfortunately, it just wasn't in the cards, couldn't score enough runs to beat them," said Hughes, who matched his longest start of the season in his third career complete game. "To go out there and give a quality effort is big, but at the end of the day, you want wins. That's the name of the game."

Danny Santana doubled and scored for the Twins, who lost their fourth straight game after generating just three hits in a 1-0 setback to the Red Sox on Monday.

"We need to knock in some runs," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We need more of them."

Brock Holt scored both Boston runs, and Jon Lester weathered a shaky start and pitched six-plus strong innings as the Red Sox won for the fourth time in six games.

After needing 33 pitches to get out of the first inning on a hot, muggy night at Fenway Park, Lester (8-7) settled down and took a shutout into the sixth. He left with one out in the seventh after striking out six and holding the Twins to one run, four hits and a walk.

"Lester was filthy," Gardenhire said. "His ball was diving and darting, just like we've seen him before.

"Unfortunately we're not swinging very well, and that's probably because of the pitching that they've got on that side."

Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his second save.

Holt led off the third inning with a double off the Green Monster, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to put the Red Sox up 2-0.

After Santana opened the game with a single, Lester retired 13 of the next 14 batters and didn't allow another hit until Kurt Suzuki singled with one out in the fifth.

Minnesota cut it to 2-1 in the sixth when Santana led off with a double, moved to third on a bunt by Brian Dozier, and scored on Mauer's double.

"(Hughes) did all he could do," Gardenhire said. "He gave us a great opportunity to win. We just couldn't come up with enough big hits."

NOTES: Holt played centre field on Tuesday and has made starts in all three outfield positions, as well as first and third base. ... Lester struck out Eduardo Escobar in the fifth inning for his 1,342nd career strikeout, passing Cy Young for fourth place on Boston's career strikeout list. ... Before the game, the Red Sox designated outfielder Grady Sizemore for assignment. Sizemore returned from injuries that sidelined him between September 2011 and this season. He hit .333 in spring training, but struggled lately. In 52 games, he hit .216 with two homers and 15 RBIs. ... Minnesota RF Oswaldo Arcia went 0-for-4 and is hitless in 20 at-bats. ... Minnesota RHP Kyle Gibson (6-5, 3.55) will face Boston RHP John Lackey (8-4, 3.24) in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon.

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