"It's a beautiful ballpark. Coming in, I heard the crowd go wild. Not wild, but roar when they called my name and when they said it was my Major League debut," said Cortes, who stayed in the dugout to watch Araujo toss a scoreless inning after him. "Kind of excited for that."
The crafty lefty, who tops out in the 80s with his fastball, was a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Yankees this winter. Cortes got himself into quite the jam initially, loading the bases on a single and a pair of walks. But he stayed calm, striking out Byron Buxton and getting a double-play ball to keep the Twins off the board. He allowed a run in the seventh, giving up a total of three hits and two walks, with two strikeouts.
"I was kidding Nestor that the best changeup he threw was to [catcher] Caleb [Joseph] to start the double play," manager Buck Showalter said. "At the end of the day, we gave up one run between the two of them over three innings. We'll take the finished product, and we'll learn from it. You do take a step back when you get guys announced back to back making their Major League debut."
That's especially true when the guy was at Class A for most of last season, as Araujo was with the Cubs.
The righty also struck out Buxton, showed impressive poise in a 1-2-3 eighth. He needed just 11 pitches to dispose of the Twins, firing six of those for strikes.
"I did [think this day would come], especially when I went to Wrigley Field as a fan to watch a game," Araujo said through an interpreter. "I said to myself, 'I could be there, I could compete so hopefully a time comes when I am on the field.'"
That time is now. While Cortes admitted to being amped, Araujo had a different approach in his debut.
"I was very calm," he said. "I prepared myself mentally and physically for it."