FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Mike Pelfrey stuck to his sinker -- eventually -- and threw three scoreless innings Friday night at JetBlue Park to lead the Twins to a 2-0 shutout of the Red Sox.
After a difficult first inning in which he used a variety of pitches, Pelfrey retired eight of the last nine hitters he faced, five of them on strikeouts, mostly by using a sinking fastball that the former Met called "my best pitch. There will be days when I'll throw that thing 90 percent of the time."
The rest of Minnesota's bullpen was just as good, and Boston managed only five hits, four of them singles. Brian Duensing and Josh Roenicke pitched two innings apiece, and Michael Tonkin and Tyler Robertson protected the shutout in the eighth and ninth as the Twins won for the first time in three "Mayors Cup" meetings with Boston.
Minnesota got all the offense it needed when four straight Twins delivered two-out hits off Boston starter Ryan Dempster in the third inning. Aaron Hicks doubled, Brian Dozier singled him home, and Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit followed with hits to score Dozier.
The Twins, who have won five of their last six road games, travel to Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday to face Pittsburgh. Cole De Vries will start for the Twins against Pirates righthander A.J. Burnett.