Twins lefthander Brian Duensing wants to prove to the coaching staff that he can make adjustments and be an effective starter.
And an adjustment he made right before Sunday's game against Cleveland just might help him stay in the rotation the rest the of the season.
Duensing, while warming up, just didn't feel comfortable with the full windup before he delivered the baseball. So he junked it.
"I've been throwing well out of the bullpen," Duensing said. "Every time I come out of the bullpen, I'm in the stretch. And there's so many moving parts to the windup that I'm not going to mess with that right now."
Duensing, who was named Sunday's starter after the Twins traded Francisco Liriano late Saturday night, thrived. He pitched six strong innings as the Twins beat the Indians 5-1 at Target Field to sweep the three-game series.
Duensing was not stretched out enough to handle a big workload and was lifted after throwing 70 pitches. But he was so effective that he got through six innings while giving up a run on five hits and no walks with two strikeouts.
Duensing entered Sunday with a 3.12 ERA as a reliever but a 10.13 ERA as a starter. He's had problems overthinking and making the right adjustments. When he stumbled upon the differences between the full windup and the stretch, pitching coach Rick Anderson supported it.
"He said, 'I've seen [Rangers righthander] Yu Darvish do it,' " Anderson said. "He's comfortable with it. I said to go for it."
Duensing needed only seven pitches to get through the first inning and just seven again in the third. His seemingly effortless outing enabled him to win a game as a starter for the first time since last Aug. 28 against Detroit.
"I felt strong the whole time and stuff was moving pretty well," he said. "If I remain in the rotation for the rest of the year, I'm not going to pitch out of the windup."
Duensing (2-6) didn't learn of Liriano being traded -- and that he was starting -- until about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when he checked Twitter.
"Andy tried to text him, but they must have got lost in space," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He knew, but it was really late. So coming in he was a little bit prepared. I think he kind of likes that -- not preparing and just going out there and throwing the ball. I think he enjoyed that part of it. He did a really nice job."
With Duensing in control on the mound, the Twins went on to sweep Cleveland, outscoring the Indians 28-6 in the series. On Sunday, Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer off Indians righthander Ubaldo Jimenez (8-10) in the fourth inning that gave the Twins a lead they never relinquished.
"Overall a really good series by us," Gardenhire said. "Hard played and well played by our baseball team."