DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Byron Buxton hit his first home run in a Twins uniform on Saturday, launching 350-foot blast off Toronto righthander Drew Hutchison to drive in two runs. But the Twins’ phenom couldn’t reach Kenny Wilson’s blast off the centerfield wall in the ninth inning, and Wilson’s triple scored Erik Kratz with the winning run in Toronto’s 4-3 victory over Minnesota.
Buxton is now just 3-for-19 (.158) in his first big-league training camp, but the 20-year-old outfielder gave the Twins a glimpse of his power potential by ripping a 1-0 slider from Hutchison into the trees beyond the left-centerfield fence in the third inning. That drove in another Twins prospect, outfielder Max Kepler, who had singled, one of two hits he collected on the day to go along with a walk. Kepler is now batting .500 -- 6-for-12 -- this spring.
Phil Hughes started for the Twins and pitched an uneventful three innings, allowing only one hit and one walk, against the team he has faced more than any other in his career. “It was OK. I kind of fell out of rhythm here and there, but I feel like that’s going to happen,” the righthander said. “For the most part, I was able to command the ball pretty well.”
Glen Perkins allowed two runs on four hits in the fourth, one on a long home run by Jose Bautista. The Twins rallied with a tying run in the ninth on three straight singles, including Jermaine’s RBI hit to right. But Toronto responded with Kratz’s single and Wilson’s triple off Trevor May in the bottom of the inning.
The Twins return to Fort Myers on Sunday to face Philadelphia at Hammond Stadium. Mike Pelfrey will face ex-Twin righthander Jeff Manship.