Pelfrey's struggles continue in Game 1 loss to LA
Gardenhire mulling changes after right-hander lasts just four innings
MINNEAPOLIS -- It was more of the same on Thursday from Mike Pelfrey, and now the Twins will explore their options with the right-hander moving forward after falling to the Dodgers, 9-4, in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Target Field.
Pelfrey, who entered with a 7.32 ERA in four starts, turned in another poor outing, as he lasted a season-low four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks. He's yet to go more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his outings this year, and is 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA.
"It's frustrating," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He reverted back to the pace thing and didn't throw it over [the plate] enough. We were on the field a lot, and he threw 85 pitches in four innings. So we just have to figure out what we need to do next and where we need to go next. We'll sit down and talk with the pitching coach, the pitcher and everybody involved to see where we go with this."
Gardenhire added that the Twins haven't ruled out moving Pelfrey to the bullpen, but they will meet with Pelfrey and pitching coach Rick Anderson before making a decision.
Pelfrey was frustrated with himself after the game, and said he can't put a finger on why his velocity is down this year and why he's had so much trouble with his control. He's walked 18 batters in 23 2/3 innings this season. He said he'd be OK with a move to the bullpen to try to straighten himself out, but he won't be sure of his status until meeting with Gardenhire and Anderson.
"I probably wouldn't be happy, but obviously, I'm not helping the team every five days," Pelfrey said. "So I'd accept it and do the best I can."
Pelfrey was given an early two-run lead, but he coughed it up in a three-run second inning for the Dodgers. Pelfrey loaded the bases with nobody out after walking Miguel Olivo, and he had a chance to get out of the jam on a potential inning-ending double-play ball hit to shortstop from Dee Gordon. But Gordon was able to beat it out to allow a run to score and keep the inning alive. The Dodgers took advantage of the added opportunity, as Yasiel Puig doubled home two runs on his second of four hits on the afternoon.
It was more of the same in the third, when Pelfrey walked Adrian Gonzalez to open the inning and served up a run-scoring double to Matt Kemp to right field. Kemp scored two batters later on a single from Juan Uribe to make it a 5-2 game.
"It was the same thing that had been going for the last month -- I was terrible," Pelfrey said. "It was the same stuff of not locating your fastball, leaving pitches over the middle and walking guys. It's been the same for five starts. It's terrible. I'm sure the coaching staff and Gardy are frustrated, but I'm more frustrated than anybody."
Samuel Deduno took over for Pelfrey in the fifth, and the right-hander pitched well before running into trouble in a three-run seventh. Uribe, who scored twice to go along with his four hits, laced an RBI double before Olivo and Carl Crawford added back-to-back RBI singles.
Right-hander Dan Haren picked up the win for the Dodgers, as he surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
"They have a real patient lineup," Haren said. "They made me work."
The Twins opened the scoring with two runs in the first, keyed by a pair of throwing errors from the Dodgers. After Joe Mauer singled and Trevor Plouffe walked, Jason Kubel dropped an RBI single into left field to score Mauer. But Crawford's throw into the infield was off-line, and Olivo, backing up, tried to throw out Plouffe as he tried to advance to third, but the ball ended up in left field to allow Plouffe to score.
Haren settled down until giving up two runs in the fifth to make it a one-run game. Brian Dozier brought home both runs with a single to center field after Aaron Hicks walked and Eduardo Escobar doubled. Mauer followed with a walk to put Haren on the ropes with Plouffe at the plate.
But Plouffe lined out to shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who flipped the ball to second base to try to get Dozier for a double play. Dozier was initially ruled safe by second-base umpire Tim Welke, but after a challenge and review that lasted two minutes, the call was overturned. Kubel then grounded out weakly to end the inning.
"I still don't get how Dozier was called out," Gardenhire said. "I still don't see any evidence that the ball was deep in the palm of that glove."
The Twins put runners at second and third with two outs in the eighth, keyed by a successful challenge from Gardenhire on a forceout at second base that was overturned after replay. But Chris Perez struck out Sam Fuld to end the inning and the scoring threat for Minnesota.
The Dodgers added another run in the ninth against reliever Jared Burton, but the Twins received four innings and 62 pitches from Deduno to save the bullpen for Game 2. Gardenhire said Deduno remains an option to join the rotation.
"Sammy is fine," Gardenhire said. "He just has to get into a routine, too. We stretched him out pretty good today and we'll make a decision here."