Pelfrey Struggles Again in Loss to Dodgers

Updated: 05/01/2014 5:43 PM

  Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) delivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader in Minneapolis, Thursday, May 1, 2014.
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) delivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader in Minneapolis, Thursday, May 1, 2014.
Photo: Photo: AP/Ann Heisenfelt

Mike Pelfrey could be headed for a demotion after the Minnesota Twins right-hander delivered another poor outing in his fifth start of the season.

Pelfrey gave up five runs and seven hits and walked three in four innings for the Twins in a 9-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader on Thursday.

Pelfrey (0-3) looked uncomfortable in the 40-degree weather to start the game, squandering an early 2-0 lead for the Twins, who lost their sixth straight interleague game.

"We're going to talk about what we're going to need to do to fix this guy or get him in the right place where he can work some things out," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Wherever that might be, bullpen or wherever, we've got to fix it."

A pair of early throwing errors from Carl Crawford in left field and catcher Miguel Olivo on the same play allowed Trevor Plouffe to score from first base on a bloop single by Jason Kubel to give the Twins a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

But Pelfrey, who has not won a game at Target Field since April 16, 2013, gave the lead right back when his walk to Olivo loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning. Yasiel Puig's two-run double made it 3-2 and the Dodgers scored two more on a double from Matt Kemp and a single from Juan Uribe in the third to take control.

Puig tied a career high with four hits and drove in two runs for the Dodgers as Dan Haren (4-0) struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings for the Dodgers.

Through five starts this season, Pelfrey, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract in the offseason, has a 7.99 ERA, which is the worst of the Twins' starting rotation.

"I kind of sound like a broken record because I've had this talk every five days. It's not fun, this game is not fun when you have your five days and you go out there and get your butt kicked," Pelfrey said. "I'm sure the coaching staff, Gardy, I'm sure they're probably frustrated, but I'm more frustrated than anybody."

Pelfrey said he would reluctantly accept a demotion to the bullpen if that's what Gardenhire decides.

"I probably wouldn't be happy, but obviously I'm not helping the team starting every five days so I'd accept it," Pelfrey said about being sent to the bullpen. "Go down there and do the best I can and try to get into some kind of groove and get back into it."

The Twins seemed poised for a big inning in the fifth when Brian Dozier's single drove in two runs and a walk to Joe Mauer gave them runners on first and second with nobody out.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then challenged a close play at second base, when Hanley Ramirez stabbed a line drive from Plouffe and, in one motion, flipped the ball from his glove to second baseman Dee Gordon to try and double up Dozier.

Umpires ruled Dozier safe on the play, but after a two-minute replay, officials overturned the call and ruled Dozier out.

Jason Kubel grounded out in the next at-bat to end the inning and Haren escaped with a 5-4 lead.

"I still don't get how Dozier was called out," Gardenhire said. "That ball was deep in the pocket of that glove, I just don't get it. What we were told being a catch was the ball going all the way down deep into the pocket of the glove, not in the webbing.

"Our pictures showed our ball was in the webbing at the front of the glove. ... Sometimes the system works and sometimes I think you have to do better than that."

Samuel Deduno relieved Pelfrey and allowed seven hits and struck out four batters in four innings.

Gardenhire had a challenge of his own in the eighth inning when Kubel was called out on a play at second base. Gordon dropped the throw from Ramirez on the play, and replay officials quickly overturned the play to call Kubel safe.

NOTES: Pelfrey extended his home decision losing streak to nine games. ... LHP Kris Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Rochester and will make his major league debut in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader for the Twins, who acquired Johnson via trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in November. ... Red Patterson will make his MLB debut for the Dodgers on Thursday night.

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