Deduno, Twins bullpen provide bright spot in close loss to Yankees
JUL 04, 2014 7:28p ET
Despite a season-low two innings from Gibson, Minnesota's bullpen kept the Twins in the game. However, an early six-run deficit proved too much for Minnesota's offense to overcome even after a solid seven innings from the relievers. The Twins dropped Friday's game 6-5 and have now lost three straight games.
While Gibson's outing was a disappointment, reliever Samuel Deduno's performance was a bright spot for Minnesota in the loss. Deduno relieved Gibson in the third inning and tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings to bridge the gap for the Twins.
"He was dominating," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "It was a great performance. We needed that. He gave us an opportunity to get back in the ballgame."
Thanks to Deduno and another 2 1/3 combined scoreless innings from Caleb Thielbar, Casey Fien and closer Glen Perkins, Minnesota indeed had a chance to tie or win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Yankees failed to add to their lead against the Twins' bullpen. Minnesota scored a run in the bottom of the eighth on Chris Colabello's groundout to cut New York's lead to 6-5. One batter later, though, Eduardo Escobar sent a grounder down the first base line that New York's Mark Teixeira snared for the final out.
After Perkins pitched a clean ninth inning, the Twins had one last chance to tie it. Kurt Suzuki doubled with two outs to keep the game alive, but Chris Parmelee looked at strike three on the outside edge of the plate to end the game.
If not for a strong day by Minnesota's bullpen, the Twins may never have been that close to tying the game in the ninth.
"We had our chance at the end," Gardenhire said. "We were a hit away from tying the game up. But you get behind like that and it's an uphill battle the whole way. I was pleased with the way the guys kept competing."
Friday marked Deduno's third relief appearance since he was moved back to the bullpen in mid-June. He had previously taken the injured Mike Pelfrey's spot in the rotation and made eight starts while posting an unimpressive 6.52 ERA in those outings.
Since his move back to the bullpen, Deduno has yet to allow a run in 9 2/3 innings of work while only surrendering four hits and two walks in that stretch. The 4 2/3 innings he threw Friday marked the longest relief outing of his career. He had previously thrown four innings out of the bullpen on three separate occasions this season.
When Deduno walked off the field with two outs in the seventh inning, he was treated to a standing ovation by many of the 36,952 fans in attendance at Target Field. It's not often that a long reliever gets that kind of response, but Deduno's day seemed to warrant it as he kept Minnesota from falling even farther behind.
"I was ready in the bullpen," Deduno said. "Whenever they need me, I'm going to be ready. Today I was ready and it was pretty good."
Deduno finished the day with four strikeouts, including three in the fourth inning. He got a big strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury after Brian Roberts hit a two-out triple. Deduno fanned Ellsbury to strand Roberts at third and keep the game at a 6-4 Yankees lead.
The most trouble Deduno got into came in the seventh inning when Roberts hit a one-out double and Ellsbury followed by drawing a walk. Deduno got Teixeira to fly out to left field for the second out, but Minnesota replaced Deduno with Thielbar for the final out. Thielbar needed just one pitch to retire Carlos Beltran on a grounder to second, helping keep the game close.
Friday was further proof that Deduno can in fact thrive in the bullpen, particularly as a long reliever. In eight games as a starter this year, Deduno posted a 6.52 ERA while opponents hit .285 against him. His ERA in the bullpen is now 1.91 after Friday's scoreless outing.
"I was working a little bit with my mechanics," Deduno said. "I think the fastball (had) movement today. When I was a starter, the fastball doesn't work. But today was pretty good."
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