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Emergency starter Hernandez gets win for Twins

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm •  Published: June 23, 2013
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Pedro Hernandez will have been with the Minnesota Twins just long enough to earn a victory. Making an emergency start after scheduled starter Mike Pelfrey was scratched because of a strained back, Hernandez allowed two runs in five innings, and the Twins avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

"This is crazy for me," he said. "I slept three hours. But, you know, that's part of my job. I love my job."

Hernandez learned he was needed to make a spot start after Triple-A Rochester's game at Louisville, Ky., Saturday night after Pelfrey hurt his back while running in the outfield during batting practice.

With his wife, Jackie, behind the wheel and their infant daughter in the car, Hernandez headed north, arriving at the Twins' hotel at 4 a.m.

Hernandez (3-1) then pitched around six walks and got the win despite throwing 45 of his 85 pitches for balls. The left-hander walked the first three hitters in the second but allowed only one run before giving up another in the third. Hernandez retired eight of the last nine hitters he faced.

"The first three innings he was dodging bullets all day long," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He wasn't attacking the strike zone. The last two innings were pretty decent. The fifth was his best inning."

And his last.

After the game he learned he was being sent back to the minors. Thant meant he and his family would have to drive to Indianapolis, where the Red Wings play next.

Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham each drove in a pair of runs while Trevor Plouffe's RBI single in the fifth put Minnesota ahead for good.

Three Minnesota relievers allowed one run over the final four innings. Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his 19th save.

The Twins' situation was even more dire since P.J. Walters lasted only two-thirds of an inning and walked five in Saturday's loss.

"It was a good win for us," Gardenhire said. "We knew after all the things that had taken place we were going to have to have somebody. That's what we were hoping for. We were hoping we could get through five innings. He gave us the lead, held the lead and we went from there."

Hernandez, who appeared in eight games with the Twins earlier this season, was also pitching on short rest after throwing five relief innings for Rochester on Wednesday.

"The first and second innings, I (felt) a little tired," he said. "After the third inning, I said, 'Come on. Let's go. This is my opportunity. I want to do my best right now.'"

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