Twins' Deduno scratches, claws way to 3-0
AUG 02, 2012 10:01p ET
Somehow, some way, Samuel Deduno is 3-0 for the Minnesota Twins.
Deduno stymied the Boston Red Sox on Thursday in just his fifth career start, holding them to only two hits in six scoreless innings as the Twins beat Boston 5-0 at Fenway Park.
Oddly enough, Deduno threw fewer than half of his pitches for strikes. He finished with 101 pitches in six innings; only 50 of them went for strikes as he walked four Red Sox batters.
But Deduno never let that affect him as he kept Boston's hitters off-balance for six scoreless innings.
"We talk about pounding the strike zone. Obviously he's not one of those pitchers," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "There are pitchers like that that get away with it and do that. He was able to make pitches when he had to, and that's all you really care about. …
"If you started looking at the percentage of strikes and balls, you're going, ‘Oof, how long is he going to be able to make it through this?' But the one thing he has going for him is he's got some nasty stuff."
In his five career starts, Deduno has walked 20 total batters — at least three in each start. He's coupled that with 19 strikeouts. Minnesota is an organization that typically prides itself on a pitching staff that limits walks. Deduno has so far gone against that grain, but the end results have been worth it.
"He's pitching his heart out," said Twins center fielder Denard Span. "He's come up big for us his last three starts. He's getting ahead of hitters and just doing his job, getting ground balls and attacking the strike zone."
Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had the only two hits of the night off Deduno. Gonzalez also drew a walk against Deduno. He doubled in the bottom of the fourth inning with one out, but was stranded on second after Cody Ross popped out and Will Middlebrooks flew out to center to end the Boston threat. Gonzalez also had a two-out single in the sixth inning, but that would be the last hit Deduno — and the rest of the Twins' pitching staff, for that matter — would allow all night.
Deduno's career path is an interesting one. He didn't make his big league debut until he was 27 years old with the Colorado Rockies in 2010. He pitched in just six major league games for the Rockies and San Diego Padres before Minnesota signed him as a free agent this past November. Then, on July 7 this year, he made his first career major league start at the age of 29.
After earning no-decisions in his first two outings with the Twins, Deduno has now won three straight games by tossing three straight quality starts. He allowed just one run in 6 1/3 innings on July 22 against the Kansas City Royals and followed that up with just one run in seven innings July 28 against Cleveland.
Thursday might have been his finest outing yet, however. On the road, at storied Fenway Park, he kept the high-scoring Red Sox offense to just two hits.
Minnesota's rotation has been in flux all season — which is why Deduno got his shot to pitch in the majors in the first place. But if he continues to put together outings like this one, he may continue to get chances in the rotation the rest of the season.
"As advertised, he's got a great breaking ball. He can snap ‘em off with the best of them," Gardenhire said of Deduno. "He held his composure even when he put men out there. A nice job by him. … There's a lot of really good over hitters over there he didn't back away from."
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