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Tsuyoshi Nishioka looked discouraged after bobbling a ball in the fourth inning against the Red Sox, who won 8-3.

Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

BOSTON 8, TWINS (SS) 3

Boston 8, Twins (ss) 3: Sloppy infield play has Gardenhire shaking his head

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • March 5, 2012 - 12:03 AM

FORT MYERS, FLA. — Sean Burroughs should have fielded the ball. Tsuyoshi Nishioka should have handled the ball cleanly. Rene Rivera shouldn't have left home plate to take Nishioka's throw.

And manager Ron Gardenhire shouldn't have had to watch it all.

Two days after the end of workouts -- which were expanded by three days to drill players on fundamentals -- the Twins were up to their old hijinx on Sunday while getting smoked 8-3 by the Red Sox.

A sold-out crowd of 8,886, on hand for Boston's opener at brand new JetBlue Park, watched the Twins work through some issues.

With runners on first and second in the fourth inning, Adrian Gonzalez hit a sharp grounder that glanced off Burroughs at third for an error. The ball popped into the air behind short, where Nishioka dropped it, then picked it up and threw home. Rivera inexplicably ran toward the ball, then watched it skip under his glove.

Twins pitcher Phil Dumatrait gathered the ball and flipped home to Rivera, who returned in time to tag out Dustin Pedroia.

What a way to stop a run from scoring. The official scoring was 6-2-1-2, but it might as well have been scored 2-0-1-1 for the flashback to last year.

"We still got someone out at home, but it wasn't fun," Gardenhire said. "Don't want to see the ball bouncing around. We just want to catch the ball and not panic. If we miss a play then we can't react like we did after that. A couple people tried to hurry and got a little excited."

Gardenhire also wasn't happy with Ben Revere, who was picked off first in the seventh inning when no one was covering second, During the ensuing rundown, Darin Mastroianni tried to score and was thrown out at home. And righthander Jason Bulger walked four batters in a row before giving up a grand slam to Lars Anderson in the seventh.

Infielder Ray Chang was kneed in the jaw while sliding into second in the seventh, but the Twins said he should be fine.

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