FORT MYERS, FLA. – Kevin Correia became the first Twins pitcher to throw six innings in a major-league game this spring, and he faced only three batters in five of them. But the Yankees batted around in Correia’s one bad inning and handed the Twins a 5-4 loss before the biggest crowd in Hammond Stadium history.
Correia had little problem with a makeshift Yankee lineup in every inning but the fourth, when some sloppiness in the field led to four runs on five hits. The Yankees, made up mostly of minor-league prospects, loaded the bases on two singles and a Correia pitch that hit Francisco Cervelli, then scored runs on three more hits, one of which bounced off shortstop Pedro Florimon’s glove.
That was enough for Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka, New York’s $155 million new star righthander from Japan. Tanaka allowed a run in the first inning on a Brian Dozier double and two groundouts, and two more on a Jason Kubel double and a Trevor Plouffe RBI groundout in the sixth. But he struck out six over 5 2/3 innings and left to a loud ovation from the hundreds of Yankee fans among the sellout crowd of 9,298.
The Twins may have scored another run off Tanaka, but Aaron Hicks’ third-inning stolen base was overturned when New York manager Joe Girardi challenged umpire Marvin Hudson’s call, and replay revealed Hicks had been tagged out before touching the bag. It was the first overruled call in a Twins game this spring, and when Dozier followed with a single to center, it cost the Twins a run.
Eduardo Escobar completed the scoring in the ninth, cracking a Yashinori Tateyama pitch into the right-field bar area, his first home run of the spring.
Correia said he was pleased with his outing, particularly the five innings in which he faced just three batters.
“Everything felt good today. I got my work in, nothing out of the ordinary,” said Correia, whose third-inning strikeout of Antoan Richardson was just his second whiff of the spring. “It’s progressing as planned, and I’m ready to go.”
Anthony Swarzak allowed a run on three hits in the seventh inning.
The Twins travel to Clearwater, Fla., to face the Phillies on Sunday, with Phil Hughes starting for Minnesota against Kyle Kendrick.