Pelfrey throws 2 scoreless as Twins top Red Sox

Minnesota Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey, follows through on a warm-up throw in the first inning of an exhibition baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Mike Pelfrey pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut as the Minnesota Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 8-2 on Friday.

“I wanted to work fast, pick up my tempo, and I thought I did a good job of that,” Pelfrey said. “And I wanted to throw some sliders, and I thought it was really, really good.”

Pelfrey struggled for much of last season, his first with the Twins, going 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts. Even though it’s still early in camp, he’s already been able to notice a difference in his performance from last season.

“I think I threw the slider today maybe six or seven times, and maybe four or five were strikes,” he said. “I don’t know if I threw six for strikes all spring training last year.”

“It’s definitely different. I don’t know what velocity was, but it was definitely better than last year. … I feel like I’m in a lot better place than I was at this time last year. I feel normal, I feel good.”

Pelfrey gave up one hit.

Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, the 39th overall pick in the 2010 draft, started for the Red Sox and threw two hitless innings, striking out four.

“I thought he was impressive,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Three pitches for strikes. He was aggressive through the strike zone. And when he leveraged his fastball downhill, he was able to generate some swing and miss. So an impressive two innings of work today for his first outing here.”

Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller walked three batters in the fifth inning and all of them scored, two on Chris Colabello’s double.

Mike Napoli got two hits for Boston. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia each went 0 for 2.

Twins leadoff hitter Alex Presley, vying to be the starting center fielder, went 0 for 3.

Twins: Manager Ron Gardenhire noted the effort Pelfrey has made to improve his pace.

“He gets it,” Gardenhire said. “He knows what he needs to do. Shorten the games, get the ball over. Pace of the game begins with you getting the ball on the mound and throwing it. That was fun to watch. He knew it.”

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