FORT MYERS, FLA. – With the wind blustering around Hammond Stadium, it seemed unlikely that a home run could travel farther than Eddie Rosario’s first-inning grand slam Tuesday. But Jake Cave was up to the challenge.
Rosario staked the Twins to a four-run lead, Cave added three more with a booming homer later in the same inning, and the Twins rode their eight-run burst to a 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Grapefruit League play.
Rosario went only 1-for-3 on the day, but more than doubled his spring RBI total on one bases-loaded swing, lofting a fastball from Rays starter Adam Kolarek into the right field seats. The blast provided all the offense the Twins would need, not that they were done.
Once Kolarek was knocked out, Cave came to the plate to face reliever Luis Santos with two runners on. Cave, who as a 2018 rookie ranked among the top five hitters in the AL in average home run distance, rocketed a home run high into the right field seats, his first extra-base hit of the spring.
“He can snap the ball. He’s got good bat speed, and he can snap the ball to the pull side and hit it a long way,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of the second-year outfielder. “The wind [was] playing some tricks on our guys out there. It was not an easy day to play in the outfield. Any ball hit to right field that gets over the fence is struck well.”
Ehire Adrianza doubled home another run in the eight-run first, handing Jake Odorizzi and six relievers plenty of breathing room as the Twins evened their Grapefruit League record to 6-6-1. Odorizzi pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings, striking out four, and Jason Casto added a home run in the fifth inning.