Twins starter Brian Duensing (3-10) retired 12 consecutive batters Thursday and took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, when Seattle's first thee hitters reached. Kyle Seager hit a sacrifice fly, tying the score, and Gardenhire replaced Duensing with Casey Fien.
Left fielder Josh Willingham's error came next, a dropped fly ball. After Fien walked pinch hitter John Jaso, Trayvon Robinson delivered a two-out, two-run single. Duensing was charged with four runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings as the Twins lost 5-4.
Duensing is 2-8 with a 6.92 ERA in 12 starts this year, and it's unclear if his future with the team will be as a starter or reliever.
"I don't want to take anything away from him right now and start talking about other stuff," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He gave us a great chance to win. We'll move forward from there and see where we're at."
Vasquez to pitch Sunday?
With Scott Diamond serving his six-game suspension, the Twins haven't named their starting pitcher for Sunday's series finale in Kansas City. Gardenhire said it would be someone who's currently not with the team, and all signs point to Esmerling Vasquez, who is 9-6 with a 2.78 ERA for Class AAA Rochester.
The Twins also plan to give P.J. Walters some starts in September, but he made one last rehab start for Rochester on Thursday.
Deduno studies the King
Samuel Deduno gave up only two hits in seven scoreless innings Wednesday, and most impressive was the fact he didn't walk a batter after coming in averaging 6.5 walks per nine innings.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson had been trying to get Deduno to separate his hands earlier in his delivery, and Monday the light bulb came on while fellow righthander Felix Hernandez was tossing his 1-0 shutout against the Twins.
Anderson told Deduno to watch the way Hernandez twists at the top of his delivery, which helps him separate his hands properly. Deduno studied Hernandez's delivery on video, comparing it to his own.
On Wednesday, Deduno added the slight twist and discovered newfound command.
"That helped me," Deduno said. "It was the first game I threw really good strikes."
Another change Deduno has made since he started working with Anderson is to step sideways at the beginning of his windup, instead of straight back -- another method to keep him from rushing his arm.
Deduno remains a project, loaded with potential, but Anderson likes how quickly he picks up on things.
"You tell him one thing, and the next time he'll be doing it, trying and keeping at it," Anderson said. "He works so hard, and he analyzes what he's doing. He's got a chance."