One-time no-names make mark on Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 11, 2012 - 7:41 AM

Samuel Deduno continued to impress on the mound, and Pedro Florimon was sharp in the field and at the plate.

The Twins media guide is filled with numerous biographies of players most fans probably had never heard of before this season.

Page 68 introduces Samuel Deduno, a 29-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic with six games of major league experience, who signed a minor league deal in November. Sixteen pages later, there's shortstop Pedro Florimon, another Dominican, age 25, whom the Twins claimed off waivers in December.

For those still following this team, Deduno and Florimon have gone from foreign concepts to household names. Both had big performances Monday night, as the Twins defeated Cleveland 7-2 at Target Field, pulling the teams into a fourth-place tie.

An announced crowd of 27,526 -- the smallest in the ballpark's three-year history -- watched Deduno (6-3) carry a no-hit bid into the sixth inning.

"His pitch count got up there quick," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I wasn't paying much attention to it until the sixth inning, and he had 80 pitches. I was going, 'Oh, no. He's going to throw a 150-pitch no-hitter, and I'm going to leave him out there.'

"I got a little nervous there. My stomach started turning. But it was fun to watch."

The Twins won the final three games in the four-game series with the Indians, who led the American League Central on the morning of June 24 but are 15-41 since the All-Star break.

Deduno wound up holding Cleveland to two runs on three hits over seven innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. It was his eighth quality start -- at least six innings pitched, three or fewer runs allowed -- in 12 tries, and the Twins improved to 8-4 in his starts.

Deduno has made a strong case to be part of the team's 2013 rotation since July 7, when he made his first start for the Twins. The team promoted Florimon from Class AAA Rochester on Aug. 15, and this was one of his best games.

The switch hitter went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI double and two runs scored, raising his average to .267. Both extra-base hits came batting lefthanded on balls driven to the opposite field.

"I know I'm making a good impression on the coaches and the team," Florimon said in words translated from Spanish by second baseman Alexi Casilla. "I feel a lot of confidence I'm going to be back next year."

He has a stronger arm than fellow rookie shortstop Brian Dozier, but both players need to cut down on routine errors, and their offensive production likely will dictate who plays next year.

Florimon made two difficult plays while Monday's game was still close. He ranged to his right and made a strong one-hop throw across the diamond to get Russ Canzler at first base, ending the sixth inning.

After Florimon tripled and scored as the Twins took a 3-1 lead, Casey Kotchman opened the seventh with a chopper over the mound. Florimon raced over, grabbed the ball with his bare hand near second base and fired to first base for the out. That loomed large as the next batter, Lonnie Chisenhall, lined a home run to right.

"The bare hand [play] up the middle is a really, really tough play," Gardenhire said. "One of those acrobatic plays where your body has to do all kinds of things to get rid of the ball. The play in the hole was unbelievable, too."

Fellow Dominican Casilla got in on the fun, making a spectacular charging play from second base in the ninth inning.

"A nice night all the way around -- especially the defense," Gardenhire said.

  • TWINS 7, CLEVELAND 2

    Up next: Three-game series, beginning at 7:10 tonight vs. Kansas City

    TV: FSN (1500-AM)

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