PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. — Jose Berrios displayed a variety of pitches on Friday, and Miguel Sano displayed a variety of home runs. Together, they powered the Twins to a third consecutive Grapefruit League victory, 4-2 over the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park.
Berrios allowed his first run of the spring, but surrendered only three hits over four innings, while Sano smashed his first two home runs of the spring. Sano, just 2-for-13 coming into the game, blasted a line drive homer off Tampa Bay righthander Andrew Kittredge into the tiki bar beyond the center field fence, then hit a sky-high fly ball off left-handed reliever Vidal Nuno that drifted into the left-field bullpen.
“Two balls hit over the wall, that’s what we want,” Berrios said.
What the Twins want from Berrios is first-pitch strikes, and that’s what they got on Friday. By continually getting ahead in the count, Berrios used four pitches, he said, to get soft contact all day. Only C.J. Cron, with a fourth-inning double off the center-field wall that scored Kevin Kiermaier, could connect solidly.
“To get ahead, that’s an advantage [that helps] me to do my best work,” Berrios said. “We worked on it between my last start to this one, in the bullpen. I’m trying to be better aligned to home plate.”
The Twins scored two other runs off Kittredge, with Robbie Grossman driving one in with a line single to right, and Kennys Vargas scoring on a wild pitch.