Some extras from Cleveland, which seems much friendlier to the Twins than Toronto:
— A.J. Achter had plenty of friends and family from his nearby hometown of Toledo in the Progressive Field stands Friday night, so he was understandably amped when Paul Molitor called upon him to rescue Mike Pelfrey from a two-on, two-outs jam in the fourth inning, with the Twins leading 7-6.
Maybe he was a little too amped.
“I had a lot of adrenalin going” in his first major-league appearance since last September, Achter said. “If I had it to do over, I’d have stepped off and gathered myself a little more.”
Instead, he tried to get Carlos Santana to bite at fastballs outside the strike zone, knowing first base was open. He finally walked Santana on four pitches, and “I kind of lost my aggressiveness,” Achter said. When he got behind Yan Gomes 2-and-1, he got a little desperate for a strike, and Gomes was ready.
“I’m thinking, ‘Just throw it over, and hopefully he hits it at somebody,” Achter said. “But he didn’t. That was tough. But I’m glad we were able to bounce back.”
Achter bounced back, too, striking out Lonnie Chisenhall to end the inning, then whiffing all three batters in the fifth. Two of them required eight pitches, so Achter was fighting for those outs, which he hopes carries over. “Between innings, I was able to calm my nerves a little bit, settle down. I talked to Kurt [Suzuki, his catcher], and he said, ‘Just throw strikes,’ “ Achter said. “I’m glad I was able to do it. It’s a little confidence for myself, but hopefully next time, I don’t put myself in a situation where I have to make those pitches. Just get the job done the first time.”
— Mike Pelfrey was missing some velocity on his fastball Friday, at least as compared to his eight-shutout-inning outing last Sunday, and it cost him.
“He didn’t have the same fastball. If you don’t have the same velocity, you have to pitch differently. I don’t think he pitched inside as well as he would liked,” Molitor said. “His off-speed didn’t help him much, and so he battled.”
He didn’t give up many extra-base hits, but the weight of eight singles and a walk finally caved in on him with seven runs in just 3 2/3 innings.
“I made a lot of mistakes over the plate. Every time I did, I seemed to give up a hit,” said Pelfrey, whose ERA jumped to 4.06. “They had a lot of hits.”
— Eduardo Escobar wore a sign on his back in the clubhouse and during batting practice on Friday that read, “Forgive me, Torii. I [heart] Swingman.” It’s the penance that the infielder has to pay, Torii Hunter said, for buying a pair of Air Jordans this week, rather than the Nike brand that Ken Griffey Jr. models for and Hunter endorses. “If he wears that sign for three days, he can wear the shoes,” Hunter said with a grin. “But he should just buy Swingman in the first place.”
— Hunter stole second base in the third inning, his second of the season. It also made him just the fourth Twins player ever to steal a base after his 40th birthday, joining Molitor, who had 23; Dave Winfield (4); and Pat Borders (2).
— Eddie Rosario tripled twice, giving him eight on the season, just one short of Tony Oliva’s franchise rookie record of nine.
— The Twins wore red jerseys, their batting-practice garb, for the game, just the fourth time they’ve ever worn the color. The break-the-jinx move was the idea, Pelfrey said, of athletic trainer Dave Pruemer, but it was a risky one: The Twins had been 0-3 in red, losing last Aug. 1 and twice in 1997.