MLB: Pelfrey, Twins shut out Brewers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Pelfrey had his best outing in more than three years, and the Minnesota Twins got some timely offense in a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, salvaging the final game of a three-game series.
MINNEAPOLIS - Mike Pelfrey had his best outing in more than three years, and the Minnesota Twins got some timely offense in a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, salvaging the final game of a three-game series.
The victory kept the Twins one game clear of the Kansas City Royals for first place in the American League Central. The Royals and Twins begin a three-game series at Target Field on Monday.
Pelfrey pitched eight shutout innings, the first time he pitched into the eighth since April 21, 2012, when he played for the New York Mets. It was his final outing before Tommy John surgery ended his season and changed his career.
“I thought (Twins manager Paul Molitor) was going to take me out after seven. I was gassed,” Pelfrey said. “But he said ‘I’d like for you to go out and get one more.’ I’m not going to tell him no, I liked the challenge.”
The veteran right-hander, who entered this season with a 5-16 record and a 5.56 ERA in two seasons since signing with the Twins in 2013, improved to 5-2 this year and lowered his ERA to 2.28, fourth best in the American League. Pelfrey recorded quality starts in seven of his past nine outings, boasting a 1.89 ERA over that span.
“I feel good,” Pelfrey said. “Obviously, the first two years here didn’t go as well as I would have wanted. But I’m healthy now, I got the opportunity in spring training to start and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
On Sunday, his stuff was as good as it has been all year. His fastball was routinely in the mid-90s, and his splitter kept Milwaukee off balance all game.
The Brewers got one hit off Pelfrey in each inning, but seven of those were singles. Each time, Pelfrey worked out of a jam, allowing two runners on base in an inning just once.
With two outs in the eighth inning and a runner on first, Molitor approached the mound seemingly poised to go to closer Glen Perkins. However, some confidence from the rookie manager and a bit of politicking from Pelfrey allowed the starter to face Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun. Pelfrey rewarded his skipper, getting Braun to line out to third base, and the 31,911 in attendance gave him a standing ovation.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said, “I made it to the mound before Molitor and I told (Pelfrey), ‘You’ve got Braun, you got him,’ and he said ‘You’re dang right I do.’ I knew he wasn’t coming out of the game no matter what (Molitor) said. I think they were going to have to drag him off that mound, he wasn’t coming out.”
Pelfrey said, “I appreciate the trust and confidence, and I’m glad it worked out.”
Perkins entered in the ninth and worked around a two-out walk for his league-leading 21st save in 21 opportunities.
“I thought we had good at-bats all day, but (Pelfrey) made good pitches all day, too,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s definitely the story today. He did a nice job.”
Minnesota scored both of its runs in a span of three hitters during the second inning. Designated hitter Torii Hunter began the inning with a walk, and right fielder Eddie Rosario followed with an RBI double into the gap in left-center field. Left fielder Eduardo Escobar tripled down the right field line to score Rosario and make it 2-0.