JUPITER, Fla. — There was a lot to like about Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Cardinals, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. But “there’s always going to be something,” he added. “The game’s never going to be perfect.”
In this case, it was a leadoff double by Cardinals utility man Ty Kelly in the fifth inning, a high popup to left field that neither left fielder Oswaldo Arcia nor shortstop Eduardo Escobar reached in time.
“I thought Escobar ran a bad route, given the wind. They were both fighting the sun, but that’s a disappointing double for me,” Molitor said. “It didn’t have that much height, it wasn’t like they chased it to a corner. It was right in between left and short, and once the ball did land, it wasn’t preyed upon very quickly.”
The result was a 120-foot double, creating a scoring opportunity that righthander Alex Meyer eventually escaped. Still, Molitor said, “the guy aggressively ran the bases and took advantage of us being laid-back.”
Speaking of Meyer, he had a moment of confusion during that inning. After the leadoff double, and a walk to Matt Carpenter, Jason Heyward’s spot in the lineup came up. But the outfielder had been pulled for pinch-runner Magneuris Sierra two inning previous, and the rookie was making his spring debut.
This was all news to the Twins’ righthander.
“I was wondering about that. They played Hayward’s walk-up music, and I didn’t remember they pinch-ran,” Meyer said. “[Sierra] came up and I thought, man, I thought he was a lot bigger than that.”