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Pelfrey sharp before bullpen fades

  • March 4, 2013 - 12:11 AM

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. - One little adjustment, one simple drill, was all it took for Mike Pelfrey to turn into a righthanded version of David Price.

Well, maybe he's not ready to threaten Price's Cy Young Award-winning status yet, but the Twins righthander matched Tampa Bay's ace for three innings Sunday in Minnesota's 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 11/3 innings during his first start, also allowed only one hit in three innings Sunday, a double to Evan Longoria. He threw 24 strikes among his 39 pitches, reached 89 miles per hour 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 consecutive 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 in the fourth, and on back-to-back doubles by Eric Fryer and Mark Sobolewski in the ninth.

PHIL MILLER

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