MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Mike Pelfrey has heard it all before. He knows coming back from Tommy John surgery takes time and that pitchers often struggle in their first season back from the ligament replacement procedure.
As he continues to scuffle through his own comeback, his patience is wearing thin.
Pelfrey battled control issues all night and gave up three runs on six hits in 5 1-3 innings of Minnesota's 3-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
The right-hander walked four, needed 101 pitches and failed to get out of the sixth inning for the fourth straight start.
``I worked my butt off and I would like to see results,' Pelfrey (3-6) said. ``I would like for this to be going better than it is. At the end of the day, it eats me alive. It stinks.'
Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1) struck out five in 7 2-3 innings and Kendrys Morales homered for the Mariners, who snapped the Twins' four-game losing streak.
Pedro Florimon had three hits and Chris Parmelee had two, but the rest of the lineup went 2 for 27 with six strikeouts.
Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson has had several conversations with Pelfrey this season, trying to manage expectations as he tries to solidify his spot in the team's rotation.
``I don't know how many times he's told me it's a process and I know you don't like hearing that. And I don't,' Pelfrey said. ``I feel good. I know that I go out there and battle and every five days it's a grind.'
It looks all too easy for Iwakuma these days. He has not given up an earned run to the Twins in 20 2-3 career innings and saw his ERA drop to 2.13.
After a 10-game losing streak earlier in the month, the Twins came into the opener against the struggling Mariners on a nice little roll. They had won five of their previous six games following that miserable skid and appeared to have their fortunes turning thanks to a soft spot in the schedule - they took four straight from the free-falling Brewers this week - and some luck in not getting Mariners ace Felix Hernandez this weekend.
But Iwakuma is no picnic either.
Like many of his Japanese brethren who have come before him, Iwakuma has an almost hypnotic, unconventional delivery that plays with a hitter's eye level. His right leg flares out on the follow-through that has the potential to distract as his splitter reaches the plate. He went 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 16 starts last season, but the American League hasn't shown any signs of figuring him out in his second year.
The crafty right-hander entered the game with a 2.35 ERA, the third best in the American League and just ahead of Hernandez (2.38). His only loss of the season came in a 2-1 defeat at Houston on April 23 when he struck out 11 in five innings.
He didn't miss as many bats on Friday night, but he was just as effective. He got Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit twice and also induced three comebackers to the mound as the Twins flailed away.
The Twins had a chance to get on the board in the third inning with runners at the corners and one out. But a drawn-in Brendan Ryan made a nifty stab at shortstop on a hot shot from Jamey Carroll and made a sharp throw off one foot to get Parmelee at home plate.
Iwakuma caught a break in the fifth when Florimon's double down the left field line bounced into the seats for a ground-rule double, which prevented Parmelee from scoring. Carroll grounded out to end the inning.
``His ball disappears,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``He's got a great splitter. His fastball, he can locate in and out and that breaking ball he changes speeds with it, too. ... It was moving all over the place.'
NOTES: Minnesota native Caleb Thielbar struck out two in a scoreless ninth in his Target Field debut for the Twins. . ... Twins RHP Anthony Swarzak had a throwing error in the seventh inning, snapping the team's 11-game errorless streak one game shy of the franchise record. ... Twins GM Terry Ryan said the team would not activate OF Wilkin Ramirez when he is eligible to come off the seven-day disabled list on Sunday. ... RHP Aaron Harang (2-5, 6.51) will go for the Mariners on Saturday against RHP Kevin Correia (5-4, 3.96.).
The Associated Press News Service
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