Santana pleased despite pushing pitch limit

After 7-pitch first inning, right-hander needs 41 to get through second

March 5th, 2016

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins have been limiting their starting pitchers to roughly 35 pitches in their first outings, but right-hander Ervin Santana surpassed that total in just the second inning alone in a 13-2 win over the Orioles on Saturday.

Santana had a quick first inning, retiring the side on seven pitches, but he threw 41 pitches in the second. He wasn't helped by a fielding error from second baseman Brian Dozier to open the frame, but he had trouble putting hitters away, as the Orioles fouled off 14 pitches. He gave up a pair of RBI singles to Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish, but both runs were unearned.

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Despite the rough inning, Santana was pleased with his outing, especially because he felt fine afterward despite throwing so many pitches. He was also hitting 94-95 mph on the radar gun and mixed in three changeups to go along with his slider.

"Inning one, [seven] pitches, and inning two, more than [seven]," Santana said with a laugh. "It was a little more work. It's part of the game. A lot of battles between batters and pitchers. Lots of foul balls and 3-2 counts. But it's part of the workout. Everything is good. The velocity was good and the ball was coming out fine."

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he jinxed Santana, as he asked pitching coach Neil Allen if he wanted Santana to go back out for a third inning if he had another quick frame. Molitor also said he would've pulled another pitcher earlier, but he left the veteran in for one last batter and Santana was able to strike out Steve Tolleson to get out of the jam.

"I kind of put the whammy on him," Molitor said. "I told Neil, 'If he throws seven in the second, is he going back out there for the third?' That wasn't too intelligent on my part. And then 35 pitches or so later, I think he got into the 40s, with somebody else, I probably would've taken him out earlier. But he got through it and got the strikeout."