Some extras from an eventful night in Kansas City:
Kurt Suzuki was having a great night, until he thought he was having one of the worst ever. But he’s always been a survivor.
The Twins’ catcher broke up Kris Medlen’s no-hitter in the sixth inning, and did it in the best way possible: With a home run, his first in more than a month. “I was thinking, we’ve got to get some runs. It was 0-0 at the time,” Suzuki said. “I faced [Medlen] a few times in my career when he was in Atlanta. Knowing what he has, I got a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on it.”
It carried just to the left of the Royals’ bullpen, his fifth of the season.
As the game went on, though, Suzuki’s night got tougher. He threw a ball into center field for just his second error of the season, and first since April 9. And when the Royals’ speedy pinch-hitters came on late in the game, they ran wild. Jarrod Dyson stole two bases, and Terrance Gore did two, a couple of them without a throw.
But the real scary play came in the 10th inning, when Lorenzo Cain bounced a one-hopper to Blaine Boyer as Dyson tore down the third-base line. Boyer looked at second, then turned to the plate and lobbed a high throw to Suzuki, who had to jump into the baseline to catch it.
He came down just as Dyson arrived, and the collision was abrupt and, it appeared, damaging. Suzuki’s left knee buckled, and while the catcher held on to the ball for the game-saving out, he also rolled away in pain.
“The throw kind of took me into the runner. I didn’t see the runner. He kind of slides into me as I’m tagging him,” Suzuki said. “I guess that’s a good thing. If he had slid around me, he probably would have been safe because it was a high throw. He slid into me and did me a favor, I guess.”
Well, that’s a sunny way to look at it. Suzuki was taken to the Twins clubhouse, where a doctor examined his knee and found no ligament damage. It’s bruised, but is expected to heal relatively quickly.
“If my foot was pointed up the line, my ACL would have been done,” Suzuki said.
Will he watch video of the play? “I’m not going to,” Suzuki said. “The doctor told me not to.”
The play at the plate got the attention, but the setup to it was interesting, too. For the third time this season, manager Paul Molitor went to a five-infielder formation in hopes of cutting off a run. And it worked, though Cain hit the ball at the pitcher, not an infielder.
Eddie Rosario, a second-baseman in the minor leagues, was called into the infield, with Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton playing right-center and left-center. The Royals had runners at first and third with one out. The idea, Molitor said, is not only to cut off any ground ball, but perhaps to give the batter something to think about.
Pelfrey to bulllpen?
Mike Pelfrey understandably doesn’t want to think about whether Wednesday’s start was his last one as a Twin. But it’s possible.
Phil Hughes could return to the Twins’ rotation as soon as next week, it appears, and Pelfrey seems like the most likely candidate to lose his spot. He pitched reasonably well on Wednesday, allowing no runs and only three hits through five innings, but was quickly removed in the sixth after giving up a home run, a single and hitting a batter.
Good enough to stay in the rotation?
“I don’t worry about that. I know it’s kind of a bad time to not be pitching well, but obviously I’m not satisfied with the way things are going,” Pelfrey said after lowering his ERA to 4.09. “My mindset is just to go out there and give you everything I have every time.”
Molitor isn’t ready to make any call, not with Hughes’ comeback from a back injury still in the works. He said he liked Pelfrey’s effort against the Royals.
“He was throwing hard,” Molitor said. “Breaking stuff was better at keeping them guessing.”