Even at 41, Terry Mulholland is baffling big league hitters.
“He’s amazing,” Minnesota teammate Justin Morneau said of the veteran left-hander. “It just shows his experience and how he can pick up hitters’ tendencies and use it against them.”
Mulholland will shoot for his third straight masterful performance when the AL Central-leading Twins wrap up a four-game series with the playoff-hopeful Texas Rangers at Ameriquest Field in Arlington.
Mulholland, who began his career in 1986 with San Francisco and has spent time with 10 other ballclubs, allowed one run and seven hits over six strong innings Saturday as the Twins topped Cleveland 8-1.
“I tried to mix it up and take what I did in Cleveland last week and build on it,” said Mulholland, who helped the Twins to a 4-2, 10-inning win at Jacobs Field on Aug. 15.
“I made some adjustments and threw pitches in a different order.”
Signed as a free agent after failing to make it with Seattle in spring training, Mulholland has played a big role in the Twins’ run toward another postseason berth. Used mainly out of the bullpen this season, Mulholland has yielded just two earned runs over 14 innings in his last two outings, and has given up two runs or fewer in five of his eight starts.
“It’s a whole lot better than sitting at home watching it on TV,” Mulholland said of the playoff race. “It’s very energizing.”
The Rangers will welcome right-hander Chan Ho Park back from the disabled list for Friday’s game. Park, out for more than three months with a strained back, will make his first start since a 5-3 loss to Kansas City on May 19.
“I feel great. I haven’t really been off. I’ve been pitching in minor league games,” Park said this week. “I want to pitch hard and to win, just relax and pitch like it’s any other game. My back is pretty good”
Before signing with Texas in 2002, Park never was on the DL in six seasons with Los Angeles. He is 12-15 with a 6.00 ERA in 40 starts with Texas, with five trips to the DL.
Right after signing with the Rangers, Park missed two months because of two DL stints (hamstring strain and blistered finger). He finished 9-8 with a 5.75 ERA in 25 starts.
Last year, Park was limited to seven starts (1-3, 7.58 ERA) due to lower back problems.
The Twins have taken two of the first three from the Rangers, including Wednesday’s 8-5 win.
Luis Rivas had a double, triple and homer for Minnesota, which maintained an eight-game lead over Cleveland in the Central.
The Rangers, just one win shy of their total from last year, fell to 1-3 since an eight-game winning streak. They are two games behind wild card-leading Boston.