MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jesse Hahn was well on his way to another stellar start for San Diego.
Kennys Vargas was waiting for the ambush.
Vargas hit a three-run homer in his first home game for Minnesota, powering the Twins past Hahn and the Padres 3-1 on Tuesday night.
The Padres have traded four key players this year, but their pitching staff has stayed strong all summer, and Hahn has been an integral part. He was removed after 5 2-3 innings after matching his career high with four walks, an outlier in an otherwise-stellar stretch since joining the rotation two months ago.
"You can't get behind hitters and expect to have success," Hahn said.
In the sixth, Vargas made his first major league home run a memorable one, a two-out drive that was the first to leave the ballpark against Hahn (7-3) since his debut on June 3. He had gone eight straight starts without allowing a homer.
"That just shows how good he's thrown the ball," manager Bud Black said, adding: "It's a tribute to Jesse that he's broken through, given the opportunity, grabbed it by the neck and has run with it."
Hahn had some slick defense behind him, particularly from shortstop Everth Cabrera, and he was rolling until that inning.
Vargas, recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday, told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire before the game he thought the ball carried well at Target Field. The 24-year-old Puerto Rican, who looks and swings like former Twins slugger David Ortiz, sure backed up that statement.
Hahn's ERA jumped to 2.28.
"He had a two-hit shutout going and probably without his best stuff we've seen all year, so that's a good sign," Black said.
Phil Hughes (11-8) had a season-high nine strikeouts in six innings to snap a three-start losing streak. Glen Perkins earned his 28th save in 31 attempts despite giving up a pair of singles in the ninth.
Yonder Alonso hit his first home run in almost two months, but his drive to the upper deck in right field in the fifth inning was all the Padres put together against Hughes. They left 11 men on base.