Hughes helped off after liner strikes knee

MRI scheduled for veteran on rocky night for Twins' bullpen

Hughes helped off after liner strikes knee

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have leaned on their bullpen quite a bit recently, and the relief corps had been up to the task. That changed Thursday night, when things went from bad to worse in a hurry for the bullpen in a 10-3 loss to the Marlins, punctuated by an injury to right-hander Phil Hughes.

With the Twins trailing by eight in the ninth inning, Hughes took a line drive off the inside of his left knee. The ball left J.T. Realmuto's bat at 106 mph, per Statcast™, and caused Hughes to fall to the ground. He was attended to by a trainer before being helped off the field, putting little weight on his left leg.

The Twins announced that Hughes suffered a left knee contusion and is listed as day-to-day. X-rays were negative, and manager Paul Molitor said Hughes will have an MRI on Friday to see if there is further damage.

"He took a really hard shot off the inside of his knee there," Molitor said. "We won't be able to know anything as far as length and how long he might be out because of that until we get a little better idea [Friday]."

It's been a tough year for Hughes, who was demoted to the bullpen in late May. Thursday was the first time he pitched in relief this year, and he allowed a run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings before leaving with the injury.

In 11 starts this season, Hughes was 1-7 with a 5.97 ERA before the move to the bullpen. He did make a four-inning spot start on June 2, which was the last time he pitched before Thursday.

The injury to Hughes was the end of a bad night for Minnesota's 'pen, which allowed five runs in relief of starter Ervin Santana. Three of those runs were charged to Trevor May, who faced just three batters and surrendered three hits.

May also pitched Wednesday in relief but didn't pitch for a week prior to that outing. In Thursday's appearance, May allowed back-to-back doubles to Martin Prado and Christian Yelich, followed by an RBI single to Marcell Ozuna.

"Trevor threw some good pitches, but obviously they were kind of locked in," Molitor said. "He made the mistake to Prado, and Yelich got the curveball. They just kept swinging. It happened fast."

Marlins' seven-run 7th inning

Left-hander Taylor Rogers also surrendered a run when he served up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Chris Johnson in the seventh. Johnson's third home run of the season also brought in Ozuna.

Prior to Thursday, the Twins' relievers had not allowed a run in their past 10 innings. Dating back to May 24, the bullpen's ERA was 2.49 -- the third-best mark in the Majors during that stretch. But the wheels came off in the Marlins' seven-run seventh inning, with four of those runs charged to the bullpen.

"Ervin was still feeling good, but between him and Trevor coming in, I think they bunched together about six hits in a row," Molitor said. "They put up a big number, and that was pretty much the ballgame."

Tyler Mason is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.