Pelfrey, Diamond, Gibson combine to hold Baltimore to one run on six hits
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey tossed three scoreless innings, and he was backed offensively by Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe to help lead the Twins to a 4-1 win over the Orioles on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.
Pelfrey, who had his original start against the Rays cancelled due to rain on Monday, was sharp on an extra day of rest. The right-hander allowed just two hits over three scoreless innings and struck out four, including the side in the first inning.
He's scheduled to make his final start of the spring on short rest on Saturday against the Red Sox, and Pelfrey is expected to throw about 90 pitches in that outing. He was also originally slated to pitch in a Minor League game with Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday but pitched in the Grapefruit League game because the Minor League field was in bad condition due to the rain on Monday.
"I felt fine," Pelfrey said. "My command in the first inning wasn't good. I went 3-2 on all three hitters. Not a lot of guys have 1-2-3 first innings with 25 pitches. But I plan to get better."
Right-hander Bud Norris started for the Orioles and went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
"I'm excited. I think we all are," said Norris, who will pitch either the fourth or fifth game of the season. "We've been champing at the bit. We've been working hard. Like I said, for us to get out of here healthy is the No. 1 priority. I'm excited to get this going."
The Twins scored twice in the second, as Josh Willingham reached on an error by shortstop Alexi Casilla and came around to score on a double by Plouffe. Plouffe promptly scored on a single by Oswaldo Arcia.
Minnesota scored again in the fifth, when Brian Dozier hit a single and stole second base before scoring on a single by Mauer. Minnesota added an insurance run in the seventh on a two-out RBI double by Chris Colabello off Tommy Hunter.
Left-hander Scott Diamond pitched the middle three innings for the Twins, surrendering one run on two hits with a strikeout.
The Orioles scored against Diamond in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Steve Pearce to plate Steve Clevenger, who led off the inning with a single.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson, who was originally scheduled to make the start against the Orioles, pitched the final three innings for the Twins. Gibson is the front-runner to be the club's fifth starter over Diamond, and he threw three scoreless innings.
Up next: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco is set to make his final Grapefruit League start on Wednesday against the Pirates in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Hammond Stadium (watch on MLB.TV). Nolasco, who joined the Twins on a four-year, $49 million deal this offseason, will start on Opening Day on March 31 against the White Sox in Chicago. Right-hander Edinson Volquez will start for Pittsburgh.