(AP) — Mike Pelfrey had a splendid debut for the Minnesota Twins while winning his first start since Tommy John surgery. Jeremy Guthrie was just as strong in his first outing this season for the Kansas City Royals.
The right-handers will try to build on those efforts as their teams continue a three-game series in Kansas City on Tuesday night.
Pelfrey made three starts for the New York Mets in 2012 before elbow problems cut short his season. He underwent surgery May 1 and showed few problems in his return to the mound Thursday against Detroit.
Pelfrey (1-0, 0.00 ERA) allowed two unearned runs, five hits and two walks over 5 1-3 innings of an 8-2 victory.
“If I was a crier, I probably would’ve cried. But I don’t do that too much. I was pretty proud, walking out there,” Pelfrey said. “This is my reward for busting my butt.”
Guthrie (1-0, 1.50) didn’t have as many issues with health as Pelfrey in 2012, only spending one three-week stint on the disabled list for shoulder problems, but he had to deal with getting traded from Colorado to Kansas City on July 19.
After struggling with the Rockies, he was 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts for the Royals and was rewarded with a three-year, $25 million contract in November. In his first start since that deal Thursday, Guthrie struck out nine and allowed one run, five hits and a walk over six innings in a 3-1 road victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“Guthrie was phenomenal today,” manager Ned Yost said. “He really executed his pitches, changing speeds, moving the ball in and out. Really did a nice job keeping them off balance.”
These teams enter this game with identical 4-3 records after the Royals scored three runs in the eighth inning in Monday’s home opener. Alcides Escobar doubled in the go-ahead run in that 3-1 victory and scored on a Billy Butler single.
Alex Gordon, batting .379, started the scoring in the eighth with an RBI single, his sixth straight game with a hit.
“These guys just keep plugging away. They have the confidence that they’re going to hit,” said Yost, whose team is batting .333 with 28 runs over the past four games.
The Twins are hitting .238 with 29 runs this season, but in their only matchup with Guthrie in 2012, they got five runs off him in five innings of a 7-5 victory July 22.
Guthrie is 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA in seven starts against the Twins while Pelfrey is facing the Royals for the first time.
Former Mets teammate Jeff Francoeur is 6 for 19 (.316) with three doubles against Pelfrey while Miguel Tejada is 1 for 12. Joe Mauer is 5 for 10 with a home run in his career versus Guthrie, and Justin Morneau is 5 for 14 (.357) with two homers and a pair of doubles.