MIAMI – Sandy Alcantara pitched the major leagues’ first complete game this season, a three-hitter that led the Miami Marlins to a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
The 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner, who pitched six of the big leagues’ 36 complete games last season, struck out five and walked one in a 1-hour, 57-minute game that was the shortest of the season.
“My focus was to finish the game,” Alcantara said. “It doesn’t matter how many pitches.”
Avisaíl Garcia homered in the second inning for the game’s only run.
“Seeing Sandy on the other side too many times, it was a treat to watch not only during the game but in the four days he prepares,” said Marlins first-year manager Skip Schumaker. “He is a special human and an even better player.”
Twins starter Kenta Maeda, who missed last season after having Tommy John surgery, struck out nine before leaving in the sixth with apparent arm fatigue. The 34-year-old Maeda (0-1), who had not pitched since Aug. 21, 2021, allowed three hits and threw 79 pitches.
“Happy for him with his first outing after surgery and we’re excited to see him back on the mound,” Twins catcher Christian Vázquez said. “When he’s on, he’s on, and he’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
Alcantara (1-0) threw 68 of his 100 pitches for strikes. He bounced back from a 5 2/3-inning outing on opening day against the New York Mets in which he allowed three runs and walked four.
“This is a game that you try to improve because there are highs and lows in a season,” Alcantara said. “I heard some negative comments after the first game and I like that. I know what I have and today I was able to quiet some people.”
Alcantara retired the first 11 batters before Trevor Larnach beat out a soft grounder to third for an infield single in the fourth.
The crowd of 10,668 cheered Alcantara as he jogged to the mound to start the ninth. Alcantara allowed Carlos Correa’s one-out single before retiring Larnach on a double-play grounder for his 10th career complete game and fourth shutout.
Schumaker had reliever A.J. Puk warming up in the ninth but opted to stick with his ace.
The Twins lost for the first time after starting the season with four straight victories.
García gave the Marlins the only run they would need when he drove Maeda’s slider over the wall in left for his first homer. García received a clock violation during the at-bat.
“I tried not to think about it, just focused on the next pitch,” García said. “I have to make an adjustment because I like to take my time, but at the end of the day, like (Schumaker) said, it’s going to help me because I don’t have to think a lot. Just have to be ready to hit.”
HONOR FOR ARRAEZ
Former Twin Luis Arraez, who had his first hitless game as a Marlin, was presented his 2022 Silver Slugger Award before the game. The reigning AL batting champion posed for photos with his family and Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and hitting coach Rudy Hernandez. Minnesota traded Arraez to Miami in January.
The Marlins recalled INF/OF Garrett Hampson and LHP Braxton Garrett from Triple-A Jacksonville. The club also selected the contract of LHP Daniel Castano from Jacksonville. RHP Jeff Lindgren was designated for assignment. Lindgren relieved Johnny Cueto Monday after the veteran starter exited in the second inning because of right bicep tightness and pitched five innings in his major league debut.
Twins: OF Max Kepler (right knee soreness) underwent an imaging test Tuesday and manager Rocco Baldelli doesn’t expect him to miss extended time.
Marlins: Cueto and INF Joey Wendle (strained rib-cage muscles) were placed on the 15-day and 10-day injured lists, respectively. The results on Cueto’s MRI didn’t reveal much inflammation.
Twins RHP Pablo López (1-0, 0.00) will start the series finale against his former club Wednesday afternoon. López spent the first five seasons of his career in Miami before he was dealt to Minnesota Jan. 20. LHP Jesús Luzardo (1-0, 0.00) will start for the Marlins. ___ AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports