Consistent Pelfrey struggles in loss to Texas

Consistent Pelfrey struggles in loss to Texas

ARLINGTON -- While the Twins made a major splash on Saturday, announcing top prospect Byron Buxton will be called up from Double-A Chattanooga on Sunday, it couldn't stop the club's struggles in June from surfacing yet again on Saturday against the Rangers.

Right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who has been the club's most consistent starter this season, turned in his worst outing of the season, giving up eight runs on 11 hits over just 3 2/3 innings in an 11-7 loss at Globe Life Park. Pelfrey entered having allowed just a combined three runs over his previous four starts, but surrendered five runs in the fourth inning alone. It caused his ERA to jump from 2.38 on the year to 3.18.

Pelfrey's rough outing handed the Twins their fifth straight loss and their seventh in their last eight games. Minnesota is 3-9 this month after going 20-7 in May.

"It was a little bit of a different guy than what we've seen," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "His fastball was up and his split, he was trying to find it, but when he threw it over the plate it seemed to hang a little bit."

Pelfrey struggled from the start, but used three double plays to his advantage through the first three frames. The Rangers scored in the second on an RBI single from Leonys Martin before scoring two more times in the third on an RBI single from Shin-Soo Choo and an RBI double from Mitch Moreland over the head of Eduardo Escobar in left, who appeared to lose the ball in the sun.

But it was the fourth inning when the Rangers broke it open after Pelfrey couldn't handle a throw from shortstop Eduardo Nunez on a potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. It came back to haunt the Twins, as Pelfrey promptly served up a three-run blast to Mitch Moreland that knocked him from the game.

"I was running over there to get there and I think Nunie threw a little 90 mph sinker and I'm not the most athletic guy," Pelfrey said. "That's the way the day goes. The next guy hits a three-run homer."

It was another frustrating loss for the Twins, who fell to five games above .500 at 33-28. But they have good news on the horizon, as Buxton will join the Twins on Sunday in hopes he'll spark an offense that showed some signs of life late in the game, scoring four runs in the ninth.

"Hopefully he provides a little spark for us and gets us going," Pelfrey said. "Obviously, he's pretty talented. He can really help us out so I think we're all really excited for him."

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