Twins righthander Tyler Duffey gave up three runs in the first inning Saturday afternoon, but only one was earned, because of Eduardo Nunez’s error.
In 6⅓ innings, Duffey was charged with one earned run on five hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts. He failed to pick up Nunez when he committed the error. He also threw the pitch to Justin Upton that turned into a three-run home run. But Duffey was effective outside that first inning, getting great results from his curveball and mixing in the changeup that he’s been working on.
“I threw Victor Martinez a few [changeups],” Duffey said. “I threw [Jarrod] Saltalamacchia a couple. I think got a swing and miss on one and a popup on one. I want to throw them for effect, not just a show-me pitch. I think I did it fairly well today.”
Duffey, Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer could be in a pitch-off to determine who goes to the minors when righthander Ervin Santana recovers from a sore back. That could happen as soon as Friday, in Chicago.
Santana, on the 15-day disabled list because of a lower back strain, played catch Saturday before the Twins faced Detroit and felt good. Because of his progress, the Twins have scheduled a bullpen session on Tuesday in Houston. If that goes well, the Twins will have to decide whether Santana needs a brief minor league rehabilitation appearance before reinserting him into the rotation next weekend.
“Let’s wait until he throws that bullpen,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. “Let’s see what he looks like as soon as he has to crank it up.”
‘Park Bang’ goes deep
Byung Ho Park accounted for the Twins’ only run Saturday, a home run in the sixth that was estimated at 428 feet and landed in the bullpens in left-center field.
Park has six home runs, all bases-empty shots. He entered Saturday tied with Houston’s Tyler White for the AL rookie lead in home runs.
“I think he’s gaining confidence,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s starting to figure out how he is being pitched. He’s aggressive and can hit a mistake a long way. It is fun to watch his power.”
Park Bang, by the way, is his nickname in South Korea.
Pelf on deck
Mike Pelfrey was asked which former Twins teammates has he spoken with upon his return to Target Field.
“Almost everyone,” Pelfrey said. “Everybody at some point. There are a bunch of good dudes over there.”
Pelfrey signed with the Tigers during the offseason after spending three seasons with the Twins. His 11-27 record and 4.94 ERA weren’t what the club was looking for from him, but he remained a popular teammate, and younger pitchers liked picking his brain about the game.
Now he gets to face his former team on Sunday when the teams wrap up a three-game series at Target Field.
“It will be tough,” Pelfrey said. “I’m going to try to not smile, get my game face on and get after it.”
Joe Mauer singled off Jordan Zimmermann in the first inning Saturday and has reached base in all 24 games this season. He ranks third on the Twins’ all-time list of games reaching base to start the season. Kent Hrbek reached base in the first 33 games of 1982 and Jacque Jones reached in the first 27 games in 2005.
Super Bowl champ tosses first pitch
Offensive lineman Ryan Harris, from Cretin Derham-Hall, threw out the first pitch to his old buddy, Mauer. Harris, who started at tackle for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos this past season, has signed with Pittsburgh.