Duensing starts strong, but Twins take a drubbing

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2012 - 8:16 AM

A new starter didn't translate into a jump-start, but Brian Duensing is hopeful for future outings in the rotation.

view larger photos


CINCINNATI - The Twins went 4-1 in their first five interleague games, raising hope that this part of the schedule could help return them to respectability.

But they will play their final game against a National League foe Sunday, and not much has changed, aside from their ever-evolving starting rotation.

The Reds thoroughly outclassed the Twins on Saturday, winning 6-0 at Great American Ballpark, as Johnny Cueto showed why he has been one of the majors' best pitchers the past two years.

Cueto (9-3) gave up only three hits and one walk and racked up nine strikeouts in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.21.

The Twins are now 8-9 in interleague play, but they were somewhat encouraged by Brian Duensing's first start of the season, as he tossed three shutout innings before giving up four runs in the fourth.

In 30 relief appearances, Duensing hadn't thrown more than three innings or 45 pitches. Sure enough, he was at 44 pitches entering the fourth inning Saturday.

"It was kind of uncharted territory," he said, "and I hit a wall."

Joey Votto, who leads the National League with a .484 on-base percentage, wreaked havoc with Duensing's pitch count, drawing an eight-pitch walk in the first inning and a six-pitch walk to open the fourth.

After the second walk, Brandon Phillips smashed Duensing's next pitch for a two-run homer to center field. It was Duensing's 51st offering of the day, a 91-mile-per-hour fastball on the outside corner.

"I was just trying to get ahead [in the count], and if you watch the replay, that ball was about thigh-high," Duensing said. "It's one thing to leave a ball thigh-high and have it sink; you can still get ground balls that way. That ball was just running straight across the zone, and it was easy for him to get on it and get underneath it."

Jay Bruce followed with a single, and Scott Rolen finished Duensing with a nine-pitch at-bat that ended in a double to right field. With Duensing at 63 pitches, manager Ron Gardenhire turned to Anthony Swarzak, who saved a tired bullpen by tossing four innings of relief.

"We were watching [Duensing] as close as we possibly could," Gardenhire said. "It was right at that 50-60 [pitch] mark, and you could see it. It looked like it flattened out just a little on him, and that's expected. But he was throwing the ball really well."

Duensing (1-3) should be able to throw 75-80 pitches in his next start, and the Twins can cross their fingers that he continues looking like the pitcher who went 12-3 as a starter in 2009-10. Last year, Duensing went 9-13 with a 5.24 ERA in 28 starts.

As Duensing noted, he had pitched exclusively from the stretch as a reliever for the past six weeks, so Saturday he was getting used to his wind-up again.

"I was throwing with a lot of conviction and a lot of confidence, and I feel like that was something I really didn't have last year as a starter," he said. "I felt like I was hoping, or trying to will the ball where I wanted it to go.

"So that's a complete turnaround there. I know it was only three innings, but I felt good. It's something I can take to the next start."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question