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Twins’ first ‘Pablo Day’ a success for López

Make no mistake, Pablo López said, there is plenty of pressure on Twins pitchers when they take the mound these days.

"No one wants to be the guy that makes the [winning] streak stop in any way, shape or form," López said.

OK, but isn't there also pressure on him to win on "Pablo Day"?

"Probably more," López said with a laugh after earning the victory Saturday before Target Field's first Pablo-centric crowd.

A few dozen fans took part in the team's new promotion, which provides them special-issue "Pablo" jerseys and seats together in a section near the right-field foul pole. López patted his heart as the yellow-clad fans cheered and waved Venezuelan flags while he walked from the bullpen to the Twins dugout before the game, then waved his glove at them in triumph after completing six strong innings in a 3-1 victory over the Red Sox.

"The fans are so into it, and I love that. … I was definitely aware of it, and it gave me another reason to perform good," López said of the promotion, which is reminiscent of a similar Mariners' promotion a decade ago for Felix Hernandez's starts. "It was the first one, so it was pretty special. It was cool."

So was his own performance, the third time this season he has given up only one run. It came in the first inning, when Tyler O'Neill lined a two-out double down the left-field line, and Wilyer Abreu singled him home on the next pitch. But López escaped despite giving up a third hit that inning, then gave up only two more hits over the next five.

"I don't even think it comes off as pressure, the way he absorbs is. He takes it in and uses it as motivation, as a way to add extra focus," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "In between starts, he always seems at ease, and on the day he pitches, he's always locked in. If he's feeling something, no one is ever going to know."

Well, except physically. López covered first base on a ground ball in the second inning, and trainer Nick Paparesta visited the mound to check on him.

"They told me I didn't look very athletic when I went to first," López said with a shrug. "I was fine. I just looked a little bumpy."

Glow in the dark

If you watched Baldelli's TV interviews from Anaheim or Chicago this past week, or his pregame sessions this weekend, you might be wondering what the bright red glow reflecting on the manager's face is from. It's a lamp that is supposed to provide "a healing and chemical production," Baldelli explained, though its exact purpose, he admits, eludes him.

But the reason he remains under treatment from that light is a lot more straightforward: It's the winning streak.

"Somebody set it up, and we won that day. And then we won the next day," Baldelli said.

Stewart has MRI

Brock Stewart underwent an MRI on his pitching shoulder Saturday and said the results were good news.

"There's just a little inflammation on my rotator cuff, nothing serious, nothing unusual," the righthander said. "I don't know their [timeline], but it was good."

Stewart said he felt some discomfort when he pitched against the White Sox on April 25, the second of back-to-back outings. It wasn't a sharp pain, he said, but it hasn't gone away, either. Stewart pitched twice in the past week, but when the discomfort didn't fade, the Twins placed him on the injured list Friday.

Saints win

Matt Wallner hit a sacrifice fly as part of a seven-run first inning, then later hit his fourth Class AAA home run as the Saints held on to beat Louisville 9-6 at CHS Field. Randy Dobnak gave up four runs (one earned) in five innings.