Molitor stands by decision to stick with Pelf
MINNEAPOLIS -- As manager Paul Molitor walked to the mound on Tuesday night with two outs in the seventh inning of the Twins' eventual 6-2 loss to the White Sox after right-hander Mike Pelfrey walked Adam LaRoche to put two runners on in a tie game, all he wanted was honesty.
Pelfrey, who had already reached a season-high 110 pitches, told Molitor he still felt strong and wanted to face Melky Cabrera. Molitor opted to leave Pelfrey in the game, but the decision ultimately backfired, as Cabrera was able to hit a 1-0 sinker back up the middle to give the White Sox the lead.
Molitor believes it was the right decision, as Pelfrey has been the club's most consistent starter this season and was confident he'd be able to get a ground ball. And although Pelfrey did get a ground ball, Cabrera was able to drive it into center field.
"I talked to him before and knew he was feeling good," Molitor said. "Cabrera had a couple of rough at-bats the first two but then got a split-finger down the right-field [line], but I still thought it was a good matchup to get out of the inning. I asked how he was doing, and he said, 'Still good.' So I said, 'Let's get this guy out and try to get you a win.' But it didn't work out that way."
Pelfrey wasn't sure if Molitor was going to take him out when he saw him walking to the mound, but he was happy that his manager trusted him and opted to leave him in the game despite the end result.
"I just told him I felt good," Pelfrey said. "I had some successful at-bats against Melky. I just didn't come through. I appreciate the trust and the faith, but he was able to hit the ball back up the middle. So it's the way it goes."
Molitor was also limited in bringing in a lefty to face the left-handed-hitting Cabrera, as Aaron Thompson and Brian Duensing have both struggled this season. Thompson later entered the game, only to allow two runs to score in the ninth, a rally keyed by a throwing error from Torii Hunter in right field.
Pelfrey, who fell to 5-4 despite a 3.06 ERA, was simply outpitched by White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who gave up just two runs over seven innings, and the Twins couldn't build on their 13-run performance on Monday.
"I felt good, but obviously not good enough," Pelfrey said. "The frustrating part is, I know how tough Samardzija is on the other side, and I got a 1-0 lead and gave it back, and I got another lead at 2-1 and couldn't hold it. So that was frustrating. I knew how good he was coming in, and he outpitched me, so that's the story right there."