De Vries' start gets Gardenhire's attention
JUL 09, 2012 12:03a ET
Still, that doesn't take away from the outing the right-hander put together for Minnesota.
In just his fifth career major league start, De Vries delivered his best outing as a Twin. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native and former Golden Gopher held the Rangers scoreless through seven innings. It didn't matter in the end, though, as Minnesota's bullpen allowed three runs in the ninth inning and a walk-off run in the 13th inning of the Twins' 4-3 loss.
De Vries' longest outing prior to Sunday was six innings in a June 30 win against the Kansas City Royals. In that outing, De Vries allowed just one run on five hits with six strikeouts and a walk in the second game of a doubleheader.
After making a relief appearance on July 4, the 27-year-old De Vries outdid his previous start, getting through seven scoreless innings while surrendering just four hits. He also struck out five and walked just one to lower his season ERA to 3.00 in six appearances.
"Cole De Vries was unbelievable," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after his team lost in extra innings. "You're talking about a kid who threw two innings four days ago in relief, comes back in, throws a few innings, rain delay for 45 minutes and ends up going seven innings. That's pretty spectacular for a young man throwing the way he did."
De Vries allowed a hit and a two-out walk in the first inning but then retired the next 10 batters he faced. That stretch included three strikeouts before Michael Young snapped his streak of retired batters with a leadoff single in the fifth inning.
But De Vries induced an inning-ending double play in the sixth inning on a grounder by Elvis Andrus and retired the side in the seventh inning, closing the frame by striking out Nelson Cruz.
"He threw strikes. He threw a few different pitches for strikes," said Rangers outfielder David Murphy, who was 1-for-4 with two walks Sunday. "He mixed it up, and we just weren't on his fastball. He was impressive tonight. Hopefully we can make adjustments off him next time we face him."
At just 84 pitches (59 strikes) through seven innings, it appeared as if De Vries may have been able to go back out for the eighth inning. But he and the rest of the Twins had to sit through a 46-minute weather delay after thunder and lightning threatened the area and were followed by rain.
De Vries wasn't the only pitcher to stymie the powerful Rangers lineup on Sunday. Reliever Casey Fien made his Twins debut when he relieved De Vries in the eighth inning. Fien, the closer in Rochester earlier this year, was called up July 4 but did not appear in a game until Sunday. He allowed a leadoff single to Michael Young but escaped the eighth inning without a run.
That meant that through eight innings, two Twins pitchers who previously had spent most of the 2012 season at Triple-A Rochester had shut out the dangerous Rangers.
"Casey Fien came in and got through an inning for us, which was huge," Gardenhire said.
Minnesota's rotation continues to remain in flux. Nick Blackburn is currently in the minors after struggling with the Twins. Carl Pavano is on the disabled list. Those scenarios have opened the door for pitchers like De Vries to show they belong at the major league level.
Sunday's outing should leave a lasting impression on Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and the Twins' coaching staff. It remains to be seen how De Vries will fit into Minnesota's plans once play resumes after this week's All-Star break.
Robby Incmikoski contributed to this report.
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