FORT MYERS, FLA. - The Twins used speed to score against the Red Sox on Tuesday night — even when they weren’t running. It wasn’t enough, though.
Anibal Sanchez looked so happy to be a Twin, pitching for a job on his 34th birthday; he even kissed the baseball at one point. Turns out, he does that so often, he didn’t even realize it.
Still, Sanchez made an impressive six-up, six-down introduction to Minnesota on Tuesday, and though the Twins ultimately lost to the Red Sox 3-2 at Hammond Stadium, the team’s intriguing spring reclamation project seemed delighted to throw well.
“Every pitch was working good,” Sanchez said after mixing four different pitches in his 33-pitch outing. “The one thing I was working on in the offseason and this spring was command, and I threw a really good ball [Tuesday].”
Jose Berrios made his first start and pitched only one inning, needing 32 pitches to retire a Boston lineup that kept fouling off pitches. Berrios allowed a single to Rusney Castillo and a ground ball by Rafael Devers that Jorge Polanco misplayed, but eventually got two popups and a strikeout to strand the runners.
“Some good, some [that] it looked like he didn’t have the best feel,” manager Paul Molitor said with a shrug. “He got behind a couple guys and had to grind back into counts. But he got a zero at the end of it.”
Offensively, the Twins, now 2-2-1 in Grapefruit League play, got a run because of Byron Buxton’s speed — and he wasn’t even running. The speedster’s presence at first base so unsettled Boston lefthander Roenis Elias in the third inning, his pickoff attempt was ruled a balk, allowing Jordan Pacheco to score from third base. An inning later, Nick Gordon turned a line drive in the gap into an RBI triple.