BOSTON — Paul Molitor was happy with Adalberto Mejia’s pitching. His defense, or perhaps his attention span, was another matter.
Mejia failed to quickly cover first base in the first inning on a ground ball to Joe Mauer, and Xander Bogaerts beat him to the bag, a hit that wasn’t costly — but was annoying to the Twins’ manager.
“He said something about, he thought the ball was foul,” Molitor said. “That’s not a reason not to go over there. It’s got to be something where he’s subconsciously aware.”
Mejia didn’t react again when Jackie Bradley scorched a grounder past a diving Mauer in the sixth inning. Brian Dozier fielded the ball and shoveled it to Mauer, who scrambled back to the bag. Bradley was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned by replay.
Molitor conceded that getting to first base isn’t easy for Mejia, but he expects the rookie to work on that.
“He has a little bit of a difficult time because of the way he falls off the mound. He usually has to spin to recover and get over there,” the manager said. “A speedy guy can make it close pretty much every time. But when the ball’s on the right side, you’ve got to react a little more quickly.”
Mejia said he doesn’t know the reason for a huge difference in his home and road results. With a string of 11 2/3 scoreless innings on this road trip, Mejia’s ERA away in five starts from home stands at 2.31. But in six starts at Target Field? It’s a whopping 6.11.
“I prepare the same way,” Mejia said. “I get ready the same. I have no explanation for it.”