CLEVELAND -- After Twins manager Paul Molitor turned to reliever Tyler Duffey in the sixth inning of Friday's 5-0 win over the Indians, Duffey knew that his skipper could call his number early on once again on Saturday. The right-hander began to prepare himself as early as the fourth inning."It's
CLEVELAND -- After Twins manager Paul Molitor turned to reliever Tyler Duffey in the sixth inning of Friday's 5-0 win over the Indians, Duffey knew that his skipper could call his number early on once again on Saturday. The right-hander began to prepare himself as early as the fourth inning.
"It's one of those things where we all start moving around come the fourth or fifth inning," Duffey said after Saturday's 4-2 win over the Indians. "Today, you kind of feel how the game is going, and some guys start moving around. I knew I was available, so I just started looking at the batting order when the innings start rolling around, see where you line up. I had a feeling I was going to get in there in the fourth or fifth."
Sure enough, Molitor opted to replace starter Kyle Gibson with Duffey in a two-on, two-out situation while clinging to a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning. Duffey was tasked with facing one of the hottest hitters in the Majors in Jose Ramirez. The Twins reliever got the better of the Indians third baseman, getting him to ground into a forceout to second to end the inning.
"I came in, I had the adrenaline going and that whole thing," Duffey said. "It was a big at-bat, and I knew who he was going into it. I had to lock it in there, and I was fortunate to get the out."
Duffey went on to pitch a one-two-three sixth inning before he was replaced by Matt Belisle. After the Tribe scored the tying run off Belisle on a throwing error by shortstop Jorge Polanco in the seventh, Molitor turned to his other big arm in the bullpen, Taylor Rogers, to get out of the inning and keep the game tied at 2. That's exactly what Rogers did, and he went on to pitch a scoreless eighth.
"I think that that's something everyone enjoys doing," Duffey said of coming into a close game. "Being that guy you can depend on, rely on."
Molitor looked to the duo to log some key innings after pulling Aldalberto Meija on Friday and Gibson on Saturday, even though both starters were pitching well. Duffey and Rogers combined to pitch 5 2/3 innings between the two games, only allowing two hits while striking out six.
"Both [Rogers] and Duffey coming back after last night, [getting] big outs at big times of the game against good hitters [was big]," Molitor said after Saturday's win. "Duffey was able to get us off the field in the fifth and gave us a good sixth inning. We had to go out and get Matty after a misplay and Rogers was able to settle in and get four big outs for us. You can't say enough about the jobs those two guys have done for us."
The combined effort of the pair of relievers kept the Twins in the game long enough for the offense to break through against the Indians' bullpen. James Dozier and Chris Gimenez both went yard late, and closer Brandon Kintzler nailed down his 20th save to seal the victory on a terrific diving grab by center fielder Byron Buxton.
Even though the Twins entered play on Saturday with the second-worst bullpen ERA (5.08) in the Majors, Gibson said the team's faith in its bullpen has never wavered.
"Even through the struggles, we never lost confidence in our bullpen," Gibson said. "[Duffey and Rogers] came in and did a really good job. ... They are throwing the ball really well, and we have a lot of confidence in them."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.