Mike Pelfrey extends winless streak to 12 games

MINNEAPOLIS — The last time Mike Pelfrey won a game at Target Field, there was still snow on the ground throughout Minnesota.

Hit with yet another loss Wednesday in Oakland’s 18-3 rout, the Twins right-hander fell to 5-12 on the year. On top of that, it extended his winless streak at Target Field to 12 games. The last time Pelfrey was a winner in his home park was April 16.

It’s been quite the drought for Pelfrey in his first year with the Twins. His abbreviated outing Wednesday did little to alleviate it.

“It’s the worst outing I’ve had in a long time,” Pelfrey said. “It was atrocious.”

Pelfrey worked a tidy, scoreless first inning, retiring the side in order on just 10 pitches. And after surrendering back-to-back doubles to lead off the second, Pelfrey worked out of the inning with just one A’s run on the board. Oakland’s Coco Crisp led off the third with a solo homer that hit the foul pole in right field, and Josh Donaldson later came around to score on Brandon Moss’ single for a 3-0 lead.

Things went haywire for Pelfrey and Minnesota in the fourth inning. Just how haywire? Oakland sent 13 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs to chase Pelfrey and reliever Josh Roenicke as what was once a two-run Twins deficit ballooned to a 13-1 advantage after a lengthy 35-minute top of the fourth inning.

“Obviously, those guys caught fire there in the fourth. It was hard to stop,” Pelfrey said. “I put this team in a really bad spot. I fully take responsibility for this game. That’s terrible. I got my stuff put in. Sometimes that’s the way it works. You have to find a better way to battle. It’s unacceptable.”

Pelfrey allowed six runs for the second start in a row, although those runs were scattered over six innings last time out. Wednesday was Pelfrey’s third-shortest start of the season, and his shortest since he went just two innings on May 21 in Atlanta.

“Pelfrey didn’t have it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said in his 50-second postgame press conference. “No one else had it.”

Pelfrey signed a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Twins this past offseason as Minnesota looked to bolster its starting rotation. He, along with fellow winter acquisitions Kevin Correia and Vance Worley, haven’t exactly done that. Worley spent most of the year in Triple-A Rochester, while Correia has cooled off after a solid start to the year.

Through Wednesday’s short start, Pelfrey is now at 142 1/3 innings for the season. He has incentives in his contract for a number of innings milestones — $100,000 if he reaches 150 innings, for instance. He’s nearing that mark now, but coming off of Tommy John surgery, it remains to be seen how much more the Twins will let Pelfrey pitch the rest of the season.

“We haven’t really discussed that. Hopefully they don’t shut me down,” Pelfrey said. “I think obviously going into the season, the top end of my incentives is 200 (innings). That’s my goal every year, coming off surgery or not coming off surgery, I want to get to 200 innings. Obviously I’m not anywhere close to be able to do that. I’d be like to be able to take the ball at least every fifth day and make 30 starts. …

“It’s already going to be a career low no matter how far I make it. We’ll get to the offseason and I’ll go in and bust my butt and come back hopefully stronger and better.”

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