Hughes caps rough day with walk-off

O's farmhand delivers game-winner after striking out five times

Rhyne Hughes fanned five times for the second time in his career Tuesday. (Joy R. Absalon/

By David Heck / Special to | June 7, 2011 9:39 PM ET

Rhyne Hughes called Tuesday night one of the worst nights he's ever had playing baseball. Until the 13th inning, that is.

After going 0-for-5 with five strikeouts, Hughes delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th to give the Triple-A Norfolk Tides a 4-3 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox.

"I think that might be the first walk-off hit I've had at any level," Hughes said. "It was a big relief. I'm glad I could come through for the team at the end."

Matt Angle led off the 13th with a single off Tony Pena before Brendan Harris moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Following a groundout by Brandon Snyder, the Red Sox elected to walk Josh Bell to get to Hughes.

"Two outs, runner on second -- I kind of knew they were gonna walk Josh there," Hughes said. "You try not to let the at-bats earlier affect you, because you never know if you're going to have a chance to come up in moment like that. I was just looking for something to get a hit. I fouled a couple pitches off. Then he threw one that got too much of the plate and I got a good swing on it."

Before that hit, Hughes said there was one performance in his career comparable -- an 0-for-5, five-strikeout game on May 2, 2009, when he was playing for Double-A Montgomery against Mississippi.

"I had a lot of friends and family there," the native of Mississippi said. "Friends from north Mississippi, friends from south Mississippi. I was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts that night. That was a rough night as well.

"You try to look at it in the grand scheme of things. As frustrating as it is, you tell yourself it's just one night. You bounce back and try to do a little better. It's frustrating. Nobody wants to go through that. Records are made to be broken, but that's not one you want to hang your hat on."

Overall, Hughes is hitting .233 with six homers and 29 RBIs this season. As the designated hitter Tuesday, the 27-year-old said he tried not to let his poor night get to him while he was sitting in the dugout.

"You know, I've DH'd a lot this year," he said. "I try not to let each at-bat affect me. Sometimes it's tough -- a little easier said than done.

"I don't know if it was any easier or harder, just because I wasn't playing defense or anything like that. To be honest, it was just bad either way really."

Pena (3-3), a converted infielder who served as the starting shortstop for the Kansas City Royals in 2007 and part of '08, took the loss after surrendering one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Troy Patton (2-0) earned the win for Norfolk by tossing four innings of one-hit ball in relief.

David Heck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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