Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Postgame: Pelfrey wanted to save the pen

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: April 9, 2013 - 11:51 PM

A couple of postgame thoughts, as I watch an impressive rainstorm drench Kauffman Stadium:

-- Mike Pelfrey had family in the stands Tuesday night, understandable since he grew up in Wichita and didn't pitch last year after April. So six runs in two innings probably hurt a little more.

"I'm sure that's not what they wanted to see," Pelfrey said, "and it's not how I envisioned pitching. But I'll get ready for the next one."

He was actually ready for more of this one, and "he came in [after the second inning] and said, 'I'm going back out. I've got to save the pen,' " manager Ron Gardenhire said. But Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson declined the offer, since Pelfrey needed 60 pitches to get through the two innings. "He threw a complete game, it felt like."

Pelfrey had never stood on the Kauffman Stadium mound before, and he probably won't be in a hurry to retake it again after the first five batters he faced all collected hits. One was a high popup that fell just out of Escobar's reach in short left field -- "We were playing double-play depth, so I was too far away to get there," he said -- but the other four hits, two of them doubles, were sharply struck, setting the tone for Pelfrey's shortest start since April 6, 2011.

-- As in any loss, there were a couple of what-ifs that might have changed the game. The first-inning popup, for instance, might have allowed Pelfrey to escape the first inning with just three runs had it been caught. And Gardenhire was mulling another one after the game: Trevor Plouffe led off the ninth inning with a screaming line drive that looked like it would bounce off the left field fence.

Instead, Alex Gordon made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch, made all the more impressive by the rain that was falling in his eyes, to record the first out. The Twins ended up loading the bases off embattled Royals closer Greg Holland on a hit and two walks, but could not score.

"Plouffe hit a rocket, and [Gordon] made a hell of a play on that ball," Gardenhire said. "Who knows? That ball lands in there, all hell could break loose. Almost did."

-- The rain held off until the eighth inning, then came down pretty hard for the final nine outs. Much heavier rainstorms are in the forecast for Wednesday, with temperatures in the 40s. The Royals drew only 11,697 for tonight's game, and they aren't likely to have even that many tomorrow. And the Twins come back to Kansas City in early June and early August, with off days around each series that could be used either for a makeup game, or to alleviate the effect on a pitching staff of a double-header.

In other words? Don't be surprised if there isn't a Twins game to watch tomorrow night.
 

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