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Pelfrey struggles again; Twins fall 9-4 to Sox

Wednesday - 5/15/2013, 7:15pm  ET

Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau, right, gives a puzzled look to plate umpire Dan Bellino after Bellino called a strike on what Morneau thought was a check swing in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Minneapolis. The White Sox won 9-4. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins have been trying to get struggling starter Mike Pelfrey to be more aggressive by minimizing the pauses between pitches.

Pace didn't matter that much against Adam Dunn and the Chicago White Sox. The balls left over the plate were the biggest problem.

Dunn homered twice, doubled and drove in five runs, powering the White Sox past the Twins 9-4 on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound first baseman hit a full-count changeup from Pelfrey in the third inning an estimated 421 feet to center field.

"The bottom line is he didn't get the ball where he wanted to. It didn't matter how long it took him to throw it," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If you leave the ball out over the plate to that guy, he's going to kill you."

Dunn hit a pair of two-run shots for his 35th career multihomer game. He's hit three home runs in the past two games and has nine this year. Dayan Viciedo also went deep for the second straight day, helping Dylan Axelrod (1-3) pick up his first victory this season.

Pelfrey (3-4) has three wins, but his ERA surged to 6.57, the third-worst in the majors among those with a qualified amount of innings. He gave up eight hits, five runs and two walks while striking out three, failing to record an out in the fifth.

"I put the bullpen in a bad spot. We come out and get a two-run lead and not being able to hold it, that stinks," Pelfrey said. "So like I said, it's frustrating. I didn't pitch very well today. I'll try to get better. I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to have been. I guess I'll have to figure something out."

Dunn is 8 for 28 with seven walks and two homers in his career against Pelfrey.

His RBI double off the wall in the fifth was the last batter for Pelfrey, who signed a one-year, $4 million contract coming off Tommy John surgery. He spent his first seven major league seasons with the New York Mets.

Opponents are batting .339 against him, also the third-highest mark in the majors.

"At times he's getting on top and the ball's sinking good. At times it flattens out through the zone, and when that happened they ended up making him pay for it," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll just keep running him out there and see if we can get better as we go along here."

The Twins had a similar situation last season with Jason Marquis, another career NL starter who signed a one-year, $3 million deal. Marquis was 2-4 with an 8.47 ERA when the Twins released him in May. Marquis wound up with San Diego.

Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson also tried unsuccessfully to get Marquis to work faster on the mound and attack the strike zone with more aggression. So far, they've exhibited more patience with Pelfrey.

Dunn showed the patience on Wednesday, with the Twins leading 2-0. He waited for the eighth pitch of his at-bat against Pelfrey in the third to send it deep.

"I know I need to be quicker, so that's not anything I'm going to point a finger at," Pelfrey said. "I need to be quicker. But while doing that I need to execute pitches, and I didn't do that, and that's what this game's all about. ... I'll just try to be better next time out."

NOTES: Twins RHP Vance Worley's ERA (7.15) and batting average against (.379) are still worse than Pelfrey's. ... The White Sox have won 24 of their past 33 games against the Twins. ... The Twins are off Thursday before starting a three-game series against the Red Sox. Worley (1-4) will pitch for the Twins against Clay Buchholz, who is unbeaten in six decisions this season with a 1.69 ERA.

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