Pino's long wait brings solid Major League debut
Twins' 30-year-old righty allows two runs in seven innings in first start
MINNEAPOLIS -- Yohan Pino is used to waiting.
After all, he waited 30 years and 175 days before making his Major League debut against the White Sox on Thursday after pitching in the Minors for 10 years.
So it came as no surprise he wasn't bothered by a two-hour, six-minute rain delay at Target Field, and went on to turn in an impressive outing in his first big league start.
The right-hander went seven innings, giving up two runs and five hits and one walk while striking out seven, but was stuck with the no-decision with the Twins scoring twice in the eighth in a 4-2 win. His seven strikeouts were the second most in franchise history in a debut, tying him with Darrell Jackson and Bert Blyleven, and trailing only Boof Bonser's eight strikeouts set in 2006.
"It was fun," said Pino, who had a 1.89 ERA in 14 appearances at Triple-A Rochester. "I waited 10 years. I feel happy. I didn't feel nervous. I just wanted to do my job today."
Pino also became the oldest starting pitcher to make a big league debut in franchise history, passing Jugg Thesenga, who was 30 years and 127 days old when he made his debut with the Washington Senators in 1944.
Pino started off his outing with two strikeouts and a 1-2-3 inning and cruised from there. The two runs he allowed came in the third, when he loaded the bases with one out and surrendered a two-run single to Conor Gillaspie. But Pino settled down from there and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.
"His presence on the mound was like he'd been up here doing this for a long time," Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "Just to see his face after his outing, I went over and talked to him on the bench and he was so happy. That's the kind of stuff you like to see as a catcher."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came away impressed by the way Pino handled himself, especially after having to deal with the rain delay.
"He's been around baseball a long time and handled it really well and was ready to go," Gardenhire said. "He handled everything that was thrown at him and that's not easy to do in your first start in the big leagues with a big rain delay like that. The kid did a really nice job."