By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
When Mike Pelfrey, the Twins' projected starter for Sunday's finale with the Indians, was scratched late because of a back strain, it was Pedro Hernandez that was called upon to step in and make the start in Pelfrey's place.
Hernandez, who hadn't pitched at the big league level since being optioned to Triple-A after his May 19 start, rode from Louisville to Cleveland in a rental car during the night on Saturday, just in case his presence was needed.
He showed up and produced a clutch performance, giving up two earned runs in five innings pitched, guiding the Twins (34-38) to a 5-3 victory against the Indians (38-36) and avoiding a series sweep.
Hernandez did walk six batters on Sunday, including three to start the bottom of the second inning, but was able to limit the damage and earn his third major league victory of the season.
Offensive support for Hernandez came primarily from Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia, both of whom had two hits and two RBIs on Sunday. Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit and Chris Parmelee each had two hits apiece, as well.
Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis both had three-hit performances for Cleveland on Sunday, accounting for 75 percent of the team's hits, but failed to score a run between the two of them due to the Indians going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
After pitching 7.1 innings on Saturday, the tiring Twins bullpen was limited to four innings on Sunday thanks to Hernandez's work. Glen Perkins picked up his 19th save of the season, making him 9-for-9 in save opportunities since May 29.
Hernandez was sent back to Triple-A after the game, and the Twins will call up right-hander Kyle Gibson this week to replace the injured Pelfrey.
The Twins will travel to Seattle for a two-game series with the Mariners before returning home for a four-game set with the Royals this weekend.