Twins show resolve in opener, but can't complete comeback

Twins show resolve in opener, but can't complete comeback

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a road trip through Kansas City and Seattle that saw them post a 3-3 record after taking two of three from the Mariners, the Twins headed home feeling good entering their three-game set with the Tigers.

But the Twins quickly found themselves in a hole on Monday, as left-hander Tommy Milone gave up four runs in the first inning on a pair of homers from Jose Iglesias and Yoenis Cespedes. And with Tigers ace David Price on the mound, the Twins knew they wouldn't have any easy road back. Minnesota did rally late, scoring in the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn't come through in the ninth against closer Joakim Soria in a 5-4 loss at Target Field.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rally falls short as Milone's early struggles cost Twins

Rally falls short as Milone's early struggles cost Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- David Price tossed 6 1/3 effective innings and was backed by early home runs from Jose Iglesias and Yoenis Cespedes to help lead the Tigers to a 5-4 win over the Twins on Monday night at Target Field.

Price gave up three runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts, but needed 108 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings. He allowed a run in the first on an RBI single from Trevor Plouffe after Brian Dozier reached on a double that was originally ruled a foul ball. The Twins didn't score again until the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Dozier, and knocked Price from the game on an RBI single from Danny Santana.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nolasco feels good after rehab start; next step forthcoming

Righty, on DL with elbow inflammation, throws five innings for Class A Cedar Rapids

Nolasco feels good after rehab start; next step forthcoming

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Ricky Nolasco said his rehab outing with Class A Cedar Rapids went well on Sunday, but he's not sure if he'll need another rehab start before being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list.

Nolasco, on the DL retroactive to April 9 with right elbow inflammation, went five innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits with five strikeouts. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he plans to talk with general manager Terry Ryan on Tuesday to decide the plan for Nolasco going forward and if he'll need another rehab start.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins get good news on Duensing, May

Lefty reliever could return from DL during weekend; righty expected to make next start

Twins get good news on Duensing, May

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news on both left-handed reliever Brian Duensing and right-hander Trevor May on Monday.

Duensing, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain since April 17, threw his first bullpen session without any issues. He'll throw in a simulated game at Target Field on Thursday, and could return to action as early as this weekend. He's eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey hopes to continue resurgence vs. Tigers

Pelfrey hopes to continue resurgence vs. Tigers

Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez will be looking to duplicate his recent success against the Twins when the American League Central rivals meet at Target Field on Tuesday night in the second game of this series.

The Twins will counter with right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who has been a pleasant surprise in the first month of the season.

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Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hey Joe: Mauer's triple sinks Mariners in 11th

Hey Joe: Mauer's triple sinks Mariners in 11th

SEATTLE -- Joe Mauer tripled in two runs in the 11th inning to give the Twins a 4-2 win over the Mariners in the rubber game on Sunday at Safeco Field.

Minnesota will return home for a series against Detroit with some momentum after taking two of three from Seattle, which will try to regroup on the road at Texas on Monday.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. Josh Liebeskind is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibson rewards Twins' faith in quality outing

Gibson rewards Twins' faith in quality outing

SEATTLE -- Kyle Gibson needed a boost in confidence. So did the Twins, for that matter.

The right-hander and his teammates were able to accomplish both at the same time, although it took 11 innings for a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday at Safeco Field.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mauer barrels up for three hits to spark Twins

Mauer barrels up for three hits to spark Twins

SEATTLE -- Prior to Saturday's game against the Mariners, Twins manager Paul Molitor entertained the thought of someday using Joe Mauer in the leadoff spot. After watching Mauer go 3-for-5 with a single, double and a go-ahead two-run triple in the 11th inning of Sunday's 4-2 win in the rubber game, those plans might be on permanent hold.

Such is life with a former American League MVP and batting champion who is still good enough to be the anchor of an offense when he's healthy and swinging the bat well.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins optimistic on injury front with Nolasco, May

Twins optimistic on injury front with Nolasco, May

SEATTLE -- Ricky Nolasco could be back in the Twins' rotation soon.

The right-hander, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, made a rehab start for Class A Cedar Rapids on Sunday, and reports were positive. Nolasco went five innings and threw 67 pitches. He gave up one unearned run on three hits and struck out five without walking a batter.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins aiming for contact approach with RISP

Twins aiming for contact approach with RISP

SEATTLE -- Kurt Suzuki chuckled on Sunday morning when asked if there is a secret to hitting with runners in scoring position, and if he happened to know that secret.

"If you did, you'd be a Hall of Famer, right?" the Twins catcher said.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor tweaks lineup, bats break out 'from top to bottom'

Molitor tweaks lineup, bats break out 'from top to bottom'

SEATTLE -- Paul Molitor wanted to mix things up on Saturday night, so he put some fresh faces in the lineup, changed some things around, and watched with satisfaction as his Minnesota Twins responded with eight runs against the Mariners and an 8-5 victory to even the three-game series at 1-1 going into Sunday.

For example, he started Eduardo Escobar at shortstop in place of struggling Danny Santana and watched Escobar hit a solo home run off Seattle starter James Paxton. He watched Shane Robinson hit safely in the fifth of his last six games and up his batting average to .385. He watched Eduardo Nunez get two hits and two RBIs, Brian Dozier go 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI from the leadoff spot, and veterans Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter drive in a run apiece.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins ride timely hitting, Escobar's HR to even series

Twins ride timely hitting, Escobar's HR to even series

SEATTLE -- The Twins took advantage of shaky defense by the Mariners and made the most of their run-scoring opportunities to beat Seattle, 8-5, on Saturday night before 33,566 at Safeco Field. Minnesota knocked Mariners starter James Paxton out of the game in the fifth inning and strung together four consecutive frames with at least one run for the victory.

"It was a good night offensively from top to bottom. … There was a lot of contribution," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "And we talk about if we're effective offensively, it's going to be balance. I don't think they care too much about where they hit. They just kind of look and go play. And tonight we got some good results offensively."

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Adam Lewis is a contributor to MLB.com. Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

May 'lucky' after liner cuts short homecoming start

Twins starter fans 5 in 3 1/3 innings before injury

May 'lucky' after liner cuts short homecoming start

SEATTLE -- Trevor May was pitching in front of dozens of family members and friends. The Twins right-hander was back in his home state of Washington, not too far from where he grew up in the town of Kelso. He was on the mound Saturday night against the Mariners, the team he grew up watching. After a tough first inning, he was starting to get into a groove.

And then it all got cut short.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Would Mauer make sense in leadoff spot?

Would Mauer make sense in leadoff spot?

SEATTLE -- Paul Molitor admits he's been fiddling with lineups. The Twins manager, like many skippers around the big leagues, is trying to find the best possible combination to get his offense going.

So naturally the question came up again, the question he's been getting a lot and starting to ponder maybe more than a little: Will he try former American League batting champion and MVP Joe Mauer at the leadoff spot?

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Killer, Kirby are early leaders on Twins' Franchise Four ballot

Killer, Kirby are early leaders on Twins' Franchise Four ballot

KANSAS CITY -- Major League Baseball released the first voting update of the Franchise Four for all 30 clubs, including the Twins, on Wednesday. The Franchise Four allows fans to vote for the most impactful players who best represent each MLB franchise.

For the Twins, the top four leading vote-getters in order are Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva. Of the four, Oliva is the only player who hasn't been inducted into the Hall of Fame, as he fell just one vote shy of election via the Golden Era Ballot in December.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes finds homers costly in duel with Hernandez

Twins starter strikes out 9, walks none in 8 innings

Hughes finds homers costly in duel with Hernandez

SEATTLE -- Phil Hughes didn't win Friday night, but he pitched eight strong innings for a complete game. There just wasn't much he could do, and there wasn't much at all that the Twins hitters could do against Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, who pitched a 2-0 shutout.

But there were some positive signs for the right-hander, and that means positives for Minnesota moving forward.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Plouffe shakes off rough start with hitting streak

Twins third baseman sees results with adjustments at plate

Plouffe shakes off rough start with hitting streak

SEATTLE -- On a night when not many Twins got anything going off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, third baseman Trevor Plouffe had two hits. One was a sharp single to right field to break up a perfect game in the fifth inning on Friday night. The other was a seven- or eight-hopper up the middle.

Plouffe will happily take them, and he's been pretty happy lately.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nolasco's rehab start pushed to Sunday

Twins starter has missed 12 games with elbow inflammation

Nolasco's rehab start pushed to Sunday

SEATTLE -- The Twins' pitching staff will have to wait another day to get closer to health.

Starter Ricky Nolasco, who has missed 12 games because of right elbow inflammation, was scheduled to start a rehab game at Class A Cedar Rapids on Saturday, but that outing has been pushed back to Sunday because of the threat of rain. Nolasco threw a 60-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins see results riding pitchers' positive momentum

Twins see results riding pitchers' positive momentum

SEATTLE -- The numbers spell it out pretty clearly.

In the Twins' first seven games, starting pitchers went 1-5 with a 6.87 ERA, having given up 28 earned runs in 36 2/3 innings. The team went 1-6. In the next eight games prior to Friday night's series opener against the Mariners at Safeco Field, Minnesota starters had gone 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA (17 earned runs in 47 1/3 innings pitched). The team went 5-3.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes takes hard-luck loss as hits hard to come by vs. M's

Hughes takes hard-luck loss as hits hard to come by vs. M's

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez continued his long-running dominance of the Twins and Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison backed The King up with home runs as the Mariners topped Minnesota, 2-0, on Friday at Safeco Field.

Hernandez threw his 10th career shutout, allowing five hits and no walks and striking out nine as he improved to 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA on the year. The 29-year-old has now thrown six straight starts of eight-plus innings with two or less runs against the Twins.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Santana's dip in production a normal correction?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers Twins fans' questions

Inbox: Santana's dip in production a normal correction?

After starting out the year with a 1-6 record, the Twins have bounced back to win five of their last eight, including series wins over the Royals and Indians.

The offense has yet to click and the defense has looked shaky, but Minnesota has received some solid pitching performances from starters such as Tommy Milone, Trevor May and Mike Pelfrey.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey's seven scoreless throttle Royals

Pelfrey's seven scoreless throttle Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Mike Pelfrey threw seven shutout innings, while Brian Dozier and Kennys Vargas each delivered RBI singles in a three-run first as the Twins cruised to a 3-0 win over the Royals on Wednesday night.

The Royals' three-game winning streak was snapped in the finale after taking the first two games of the series at Kauffman Stadium.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey returns to form with first win since 2013

Pelfrey returns to form with first win since 2013

KANSAS CITY -- Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey insisted throughout Spring Training that he's finally healthy and ready to prove he can be a quality starting pitcher.

Pelfrey almost didn't get that chance, as he was moved to the bullpen shortly before the start of the season, only to join the rotation due to Ervin Santana's 80-game suspension. But Pelfrey has made the most of it so far, and it was evident on Wednesday night, as he turned his best performance in a Twins uniform in a 3-0 win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torii nabbed trying to steal home against Royals

Torii nabbed trying to steal home against Royals

KANSAS CITY -- With the bases loaded and two out in the second inning of Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Royals, Twins outfielder Torii Hunter saw right-hander Jeremy Guthrie go into the windup and attempted a straight steal of home.

Hunter tried to catch Guthrie off-guard, but Guthrie was able to throw home to catcher Salvador Perez just in time to get Hunter at the plate to end the inning. Hunter got a nod from manager Paul Molitor to attempt the steal after he timed Guthrie's delivery and decided to take a chance.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duensing's rehab starts with successful catch session

Duensing's rehab starts with successful catch session

KANSAS CITY -- Twins reliever Brian Duensing, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal, started his throwing program on Wednesday at Target Field.

Duensing, on the DL since Friday, played catch without any issues. He'll continue playing catch and then will move onto long toss before ultimately getting back on a mound. He's eligible to come off the DL on May 2, but there's no timetable for his return until he throws his first bullpen session.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins' four-run sixth isn't enough to slow Royals

Twins' four-run sixth isn't enough to slow Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas singled in the go-ahead run in a two-run eighth-inning rally that lifted the Royals to a 6-5 win over the Twins in a seesaw game on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Salvador Perez started the rally with a single, and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson scooted to third on rookie Paulo Orla ndo's single. After Orlando stole second, Christian Colon grounded out to second, scoring Dyson with the tying run.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins' bullpen stumbles with game in balance

Twins' bullpen stumbles with game in balance

KANSAS CITY -- It was a bad night for the Twins' bullpen, as left-hander Tommy Milone exited with a two-run lead with two outs in the sixth, but a combination of four relievers couldn't preserve it in a 6-5 loss to the Royals on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

It started when right-hander Blaine Boyer quickly gave up an RBI double to Christian Colon on the first pitch in relief of Milone, and it ultimately ended with closer Glen Perkins giving up a go-ahead RBI single to Mike Moustakas with two outs in the eighth as part of a two-run inning for Kansas City.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.