PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. -- One little adjustment, one simple drill, was all it took for Mike Pelfrey to turn into a right-handed version of David Price.
Well, maybe he's not ready to threaten Price's Cy Young status yet, but the Twins' righthander matched Tampa Bay's ace for three innings Sunday in the Twins' 7-2 loss to the Rays.
Price retired nine of the 10 Twins he faced, and made it look effortless, surrendering only a ground-ball single by Ray Olmedo while striking out five. Pelfrey, roughed up for three runs in 1 1/3 innings during his first start, also allowed just one hit in three innings Sunday, a double to Evan Longoria. He threw 24 strikes among his 39 pitches, reached 89 mph with his fastball, and was unhappy only with a third-inning hiccup. "The two-out walk," he said. "I'm sure I'll owe Andy or Gardy $100."
He may owe Andy -- pitching coach Rick Anderson -- more than that if the dramatic difference in results really has anything to do with the extra work they did Saturday. "We did a little drill off the back of the mound, working on getting my backside through," Pelfrey said. "I hadn't really been finishing [his pitches]. He mentioned to me I wasn't really getting full extension, and we made a little adjustment. [With] that little change in the delivery, the ball had a lot of movement."
So did Rays baserunners once Pelfrey was gone. Alex Burnett allowed three straight two-out singles to give up a run, and Jared Burton allowed four hits, two of them RBI doubles by Kelly Johnson (scoring two runs) and Matt Joyce. Chris Giminez hit a two-run homer off B.J. Hermsen in the eighth.
The Twins, 5-4, scored twice, on a Brian Dozier double followed a two-out single by Trevor Plouffe, and on back-to-back doubles by Eric Fryer and Mark Sobolewski.