CLEARWATER, FLA. – The Twins offense sputtered again on Sunday during their 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, their sixth consecutive defeat in Grapefruit League play.
Philadelphia righthander Kyle Kendrick held the Twins to one run over six innings and earned his first victory of the spring. The Twins’ lone run came in the sixth inning on a groundout by Josmil Pinto.
The Twins had leadoff doubles in the fourth and fifth innings but failed to get the runner home both times. The Twins were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, continuing their woeful spring at the plate. They are 6-for-57 with runners in scoring position (.105) over their past seven games.
With a week left in spring training, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s frustration is rising.
“We don’t have a team that can dominate teams with offense,” he said. “You can’t leave runners out there.”
Twins righthander Phil Hughes had trouble repeating his mechanics and gave up five earned runs over five innings on nine hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
Aaron Hicks was 1-for-3 on the day — in throwing out runners. The Twins center fielder overthrew the cutoff man each time a runner tried to score, but the third time was the charm, as Hicks nailed Domonic Brown to end the third inning. But the other two attempts enabled other runners to advance a base, something that can’t happen when your team is not tearing the cover off the ball. Hicks was charged with an error on the first throw.
“He’s got a very strong arm,” Gardenhire said of Hicks, “and maybe that’s the problem, because he thinks he can throw everyone out.”
LA VELLE E. NEAL III