CLEVELAND - It was a whirlwind 24 hours for Pedro Hernandez. The Minnesota Twins pitcher was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday morning as an emergency starter, beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 on Sunday afternoon, and by late afternoon was on his way back to Rochester.
Hernandez got the call because Mike Pelfrey, the Twins' scheduled Sunday starter, was placed on the disabled list after straining his back while running in the outfield before Saturday's game.
Rochester was in Louisville on Saturday night, so Hernandez's wife drove him to Cleveland, arriving about 4 a.m. Sunday. He pitched five innings to get the win and then was optioned back to Rochester, which by that time had moved on to its next game in Indianapolis.
So while the Twins were flying to Miami on Sunday evening for their next series, Hernandez and his wife were driving to Indianapolis.
Hernandez wasn't great Sunday -- throwing more balls (45) than strikes (40) and walking six batters in five innings -- but he was good enough to beat the Indians, salvaging the third game of the series for the Twins.
"It was a good win for us," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's what we were hoping for. We were hoping (Hernandez) could get through five innings. He gave us that. We were definitely needing those innings."
The Indians, who had won four in a row and eight of 10 coming into the game, couldn't do much offensively against four Twins pitchers.
"We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities, but we never were able to cash in," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona, whose team was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
"It was a frustrating day. We had guys on base but couldn't do anything with it.".
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Joe Mauer doubled and scored on a single by Josh Willingham against Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco.
In second inning, Hernandez walked the bases loaded with no outs, but the Indians could score only one run, on a sacrifice fly by Yan Gomes.
Cleveland took a 2-1 lead in the third when Hernandez walked Mike Aviles leading off the inning. Jason Kipnis followed with an RBI double.
"In the first three innings, (Hernandez) was dodging bullets all day long," Gardenhire said. "He wasn't attacking the strike zone. The last two innings were pretty decent. The fifth inning was his best inning."
The Twins took the lead for good in the fifth. Clete Thomas singled leading off the inning and Mauer drew a four-pitch walk. Carrasco retired the next two batters but then gave up back-to-back, two-out RBI singles to Oswaldo, Arcia and Trevor Plouffe as the Twins took a 3-2 lead.
Arcia finished 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
"He's swinging good. He's fun to watch," Gardenhire said.
Willingham's RBI single in the seventh gave the Twins a 4-2 lead, but Drew Stubbs' solo home run off reliever Casey Fien in the bottom of the seventh made it a one-run game. An RBI double by Arcia in the ninth accounted for the final run.
In improving his record to 3-1, Hernandez allowed two runs and three hits with two strikeouts and six walks in five innings.
Carrasco, who threw 104 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, took the loss. Carrasco (0-3) gave up three runs on six hits and four walks, with three strikeouts.
Kipnis and Michael Bourn were a combined 6-for-9 in the game. All the other Indians hitters combined were 2-for-23 (.087).
"We had guys on base, we just couldn't get the big hit," Kipnis said.
NOTES: Indians 1B Nick Swisher was back in the lineup for the first time since June 15. Swisher, who was 0-for-5, had been sidelined with a sore left shoulder. ... Kipnis was 3-for-4, including two doubles and an RBI. Kipnis is hitting .500 (12-for-24) with 12 RBIs against the Twins this year. ... Prior to Saturday night when Twins starter P.J. Walters did it, the last Twins starter to last just 2/3 of an inning and walk five batters was Joe Decker against the Indians on June 10, 1975. ... Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar has set a Twins record for consecutive appearances with zero runs allowed to start his major league career. Thielbar has pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings in 12 appearances.