Crain looks to rebound from tough week
Righty was on mound for three Twins losses in last five games
OAKLAND -- Jesse Crain had a pretty simple description of how the Twins' 14-game road trip has gone for him so far."It's just been a rough week," Crain said on Friday. It was Crain who gave up the run-scoring double to A's pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki in the ninth inning on Thursday night that gave Oakland a walk-off 3-2 win. That was the third time in the last five games that Crain had been on the mound when the Twins lost. Crain took the loss Sunday in a 5-3 defeat at Anaheim after giving up two runs in the eighth inning. The right-hander then made it back-to-back losses thanks to Adrian Beltre's walk-off homer in a 4-2 loss in Seattle on Monday night. "Whenever you get walk-offed twice and you earn two losses, it's pretty tough," Crain said. "But you learn each time. The good thing is, my arm feels great, and that's all I can really do. I just have to forget about everything that's happened and just keep going out there." Crain has been used as one of the Twins' primary setup options along with fellow right-hander Matt Guerrier and newly acquired left-hander Eddie Guardado. Despite Crain's struggles this week, manager Ron Gardenhire said that he's not planning on shifting the right-hander from his current role. "You could sit there and say, 'Move him out of those roles,' but the way our games are going, what's the difference if he goes in for the sixth inning with the game tied and gives up a run or in the ninth inning?" Gardenhire said. "He's got to get people out no matter where we put him in the game. That's the bottom line. He's going to have to make some better pitches. He knows that." Crain said that he was not happy with the location on two of his mistake pitches this week -- the one to Beltre and the one to Suzuki. Crain said he was particularly upset with himself after he fell behind Suzuki, 3-1, and had to throw a fastball over the plate to avoid issuing a walk to load the bases. "That was a bad pitch last night, but I had to come in and throw a strike," Crain said. "I tried to throw a good four-spot fastball and he was waiting for it." Although it's been a particularly disappointing week for Crain, he said that he's trying to focus on other positives -- such as the fact that his arm is feeling good at this point of the season. He's made 57 appearances after missing nearly all of last season following shoulder surgery. "I couldn't ask for much more, to be healthy and have made so many appearances this season," Crain said. "But we need to go out there and keep winning these games. You know it's a tough roadtrip and it's frustrating losing three games by a run or in the last at-bat. I just have to keep focusing on doing what I can. It's a long season. I wasn't there last year to do it so mentally you've got to get used to that too and just keep on going."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.