CHICAGO (AP) — The double-digit losses and ERA over 5.00 are frustrating enough for Mike Pelfrey. Even worse for the Minnesota Twins right-hander is the lack of progress he’s showing this season.
“This is by far the worst season of my career,” he said after a 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. “It started off brutal and I thought I was getting better for two months, but these last three starts have seemed as (bad) as the first two months.”
Pelfrey (4-10) lasted just five-plus innings, giving up five runs, four earned, and four hits with five walks. He left the game in the sixth inning after allowing the first two batters to reach on a single and a walk. The Twins’ bullpen allowed both inherited runners to score to turn a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 deficit.
Pelfrey hasn’t won since July 6.
Even though he was coming off Tommy John surgery last year, the Twins signed Pelfrey with the hopes that he could be an innings eater in the middle of the rotation. Instead, he’s wearing out the bullpen with his short stints.
“Too many pitches early, again,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think 47 pitches after two innings and it was going nowhere quick. It’s not like he’s not trying — we all know he’s trying — but it’s strike one and the next thing you know it’s 3-2.
“The pace goes nowhere.”
Despite of the rough outing by Pelfrey, the Twins had a lead in the middle innings and had numerous scoring chances after falling behind. In fact, on the final out of the game, it appeared left fielder Oswaldo Arcia might tie the game with an opposite-field home run to left-center.
But White Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza reached up against the wall to haul in the long drive to end the game.
“When he hit it, from our dugout, it looked like he got it in the wind current out there and it was flying,” Gardenhire said. “He got it pretty good. He just didn’t get it high enough. He whacked it pretty good and we thought for sure it was gone when he first hit it.”
Conor Gillaspie of the White Sox produced the biggest hit of the game when he lined a single in the sixth inning to plate the go-ahead run.
Jordan Danks homered and rookie Andre Rienzo pitched 5 1-3 innings in his home debut as the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak against the Twins.
The White Sox have won just three of their 11 games against Minnesota this season and will try to split the four-game series Sunday.
Justin Morneau and Arcia homered for the Twins.
David Purcey (1-1) struck out two in an inning for the win. Addison Reed earned his 28th save in 33 chances.
Gillaspie put the White Sox ahead 5-4 in the sixth on an RBI single off reliever Anthony Swarzak. The White Sox had tied it on Blake Tekotte’s sacrifice fly after Avisail Garcia led off with a single for his first White Sox hit, Danks drew a walk and Josh Phegley sacrificed them over.
“A win is a win. It doesn’t matter how you do it,” Reed said. “Hopefully, it gets a little spark in us and starts a little winning streak.”
NOTES: LF Dayan Viciedo was scratched from Chicago’s lineup because of a sore left thumb. Tekotte replaced Viciedo in left field and batted ninth. . Garcia made his first start with the White Sox, batting sixth and playing center. The White Sox acquired him on July 30 from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade that sent RHP Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox. He was called up Friday from Triple-A Charlotte after OF Alex Rios was traded to the Texas Rangers. . Beckham was the leadoff hitter for the fifth time in his career and second time this season and drew four walks. . Josh Willingham remained the DH in the Twins lineup Saturday after he was activated from the disabled list on Friday following knee surgery. Gardenhire said there’s no issue with Willingham playing the field. “Getting swings right now is more important and running the bases,” Gardenhire said. “He’s already played the outfield down (in the minors), so I’m not worried about that.”
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