FORT MYERS, FLA. – Righthander Mike Pelfrey had the type of outing Monday that every starter wants to have during the last week of spring training. He had good stuff, and everything was down and on the corners.
After looking out of sorts a week and a half ago, Pelfrey looked sharp in a game the Twins lost 4-3 to St. Louis.
"Every time out, I get a little bit better, making progress,'' he said.
Pelfrey gave up one run over five innings on five hits and a walk while striking out four. He could have gotten out with a scoreless slate, but Justin Morneau couldn't come up with a hard grounder by Matt Adams that zipped by him for a RBI double.
Pelfrey, to his credit, got out of the inning and then retired eight consecutive batters.
He pitched like someone peaking at the right time. Pelfrey gave up five runs in his last outing March 14, then made his next start in a minor league spring training game. His pitches were sharper Monday, and he kept the ball down.
His next scheduled start is Saturday, then he will prepare for his Twins debut at Target Field.
"One more tuneup on Saturday," he said, "then it's showtime."
Pelfrey lowered his ERA from 7.45 to 5.52.
The Twins' first two runs scored on wild pitches and a third came on a sacrifice fly by Darin Mastroianni in the seventh before Jason Lane gave up three runs in the ninth as he blew the save.
Yes, that Jason Lane. The same one who played 497 games in the majors as an outfielder — once hitting 26 homers in 2005 for Houston. Lane, 36, has tried pitching in recent years and is in the Twins' minor league camp.
La VELLE E. NEAL III