MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After failing to earn a spot in the rotation out of spring training, a healthy Mike Pelfrey looks like he won’t be returning to the bullpen any time soon.
Pelfrey turned in his second consecutive strong start, Kurt Suzuki had two hits and the go-ahead single in the seventh inning, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Pelfrey (2-0) begrudgingly started the season in the bullpen after spending most of 2014 on the disabled list. He struck out seven and allowed one earned run on three hits over seven innings.
“We’re hungry for good starting pitching,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s been that way here for a while.”
The big right-hander has won his last two starts while allowing only one earned run in 14 innings.
Eduardo Escobar clapped his hands and pumped his fists as he stood on second base after his seventh-inning double scored Eduardo Nunez to tie the game.
Suzuki followed with a single up the middle off Anibal Sanchez (1-3) to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead.
Detroit took a 2-1 lead after back-to-back two-out doubles by J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth inning.
In 20 games against Minnesota, Cespedes is hitting .378 with 25 RBIs.
Until the seventh, it looked like two runs would be enough for Sanchez.
“Nothing was different. They got contact against my pitch, was behind on the count,” Sanchez said.
The final 16 Detroit hitters were retired by Pelfrey, Casey Fien and closer Glen Perkins, who worked the ninth for his sixth save in as many chances.
Most importantly, Pelfrey feels healthy. He missed most of last season with various injuries after signing a two-year contract.
“Last year didn’t go any way that anybody would like,” Pelfrey said. “I wanted to come in and make good on that two-year deal.”
Shortstop Danny Santana added three hits and a RBI for the Twins. He also made an error that eventually led to Anthony Gose’s RBI single and a 1-0 Detroit lead in the third.
AUSMUS REACTS TO GIBSON NEWS
Former Tigers great Kirk Gibson, who will turn 58 next month, revealed Tuesday that he’s battling Parkinson’s disease. Before the game, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Gibson “was one of the fiercest competitors I ever watched” and wished him the best.
“I can’t see Kirk Gibson folding up shop and crawling into a corner over this. I don’t think that’s in his DNA,” Ausmus said.
Twins LF Oswaldo Arcia ran through a stop sign from third-base coach Gene Glynn and was easily thrown out at home following a Santana single in the fifth.
“Sometimes you want to wait to see how it unfolds,” Molitor said. “Sometimes the guy’s got too much momentum and he doesn’t feel like he can slow down.”
TIGERS: Shane Greene takes the mound and tries to bounce back after allowing eight runs in his last start as the Tigers try and win the series finales on Wednesday afternoon.
TWINS: After going 11-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 16 day starts last season, Phil Hughes has lost all three of his day starts in 2015 and has a 5.30 ERA. He’ll attempt to change his daytime luck on Wednesday as the Twins try to win the series.
TWINS: Trevor May threw in the bullpen and plans on making his next start on Friday after taking a line drive off his pitching arm during his Saturday start.
Reliever Brian Duensing will test his intercostal muscle strain by throwing live batting practice on Thursday and could be activated from the DL on Saturday if all goes well.
TIGERS: Justin Verlander got in a light game of catch before Tuesday’s game, throwing about 20 soft tosses.
Al Alburquerque, who has been battling a sinus infection, pitched in the eighth.