The new-look Twins rotation was back to its old ways.
Vance Worley didn’t have it Friday night, or the little he had was hit all over the park by the New York Mets. The interleague interlopers used two big early innings to take a commanding lead and roll to a 16-5 victory over the Twins.
It was a rerun of what fans saw often in 2012, when Twins starters were knocked out of games early and fans were forced to sit on their hands. Fans on Friday were sitting on their hands anyway, as the temperature at first pitch was 34 degrees and they needed to keep them warm.
The Twins tried to help out the announced crowd of 23,735 by giving out free coffee and hot chocolate, but fans probably wanted something stronger after the Twins fell behind 10-2 to a Mets team expected to finish near the bottom of the National League East.
Last season, the Twins gave up the most runs in baseball in the first inning and the second most in the second inning. Credible starting pitching was supposed to solve that problem. It didn’t Friday. The temperature was down and some of Worley’s pitches were up. It led to the shortest of the three outings in his brief Twins career.
“I just need to make some adjustments this week and get ready for my next outing,” said Worley, now 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA.
Jordany Valdespin led off the game with a single. Daniel Murphy doubled into the left field corner, then David Wright delivered a two-run double to open the scoring.
Ike Davis walked before Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe whiffed on John Buck’s grounder — a likely double-play ball — as a run scored to make it 3-0. Davis and Buck both scored on Marlon Byrd’s single.
The Twins scored two in the bottom of the inning, but it didn’t matter, as Worley couldn’t throw his sinking fastball for strikes.
Second inning, same problems. Valdespin and Murphy each singled, then Wright drove in Valdespin with a single to right. Worley walked Davis, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had seen enough. In came lefthander Pedro Hernandez.
“Worls just couldn’t get the ball where he needed to,” Gardenhire said. “Really didn’t make any adjustments.”
Hernandez got one up to Buck, and the catcher planted it into the second deck in left for his fifth career grand slam and a 10-2 Mets lead. The wintry mix now included boos from frustrated fans. Hernandez pitched well from there, but he left the game in the sixth because of a left calf strain and is listed as day-to-day.
The Twins added three runs in the fifth, but New York scored four more in the seventh on another botched double-play grounder, this time when shortstop Pedro Florimon dropped a throw from second baseman Brian Dozier. Six of the Mets’ runs were unearned thanks to the errors. Combine that with bad starting pitching and the result was what chilly fans saw.
Murphy was 4-for-5 with four RBI. Wright and Buck each had four RBI as well. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each had two hits and a double for the Twins.
Worley’s fastball topped out at 90 miles per hour Friday, so there was concern that he’s not at full throttle yet.
“Velocity is fine,” he said. “It has been a little cooler, so it hasn’t really jumped up. As long as I’m in the 90-mile-an-hour range, I’m fine with that.”