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Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (32) dives for a single hit by Boston Red Sox Mike Napoli in the second inning of an exhibition baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday, March 13, 2014.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press - Ap

The Twins’ Danny Santana stole second base as Red Sox second baseman Jonathan Herrera applied the late tag.

Gerald Herbert • Associated Press,

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Red Sox rally to defeat fumbling Twins 4-3

  • March 14, 2014 - 1:28 AM

– The Twins lost 4-3 to Boston on Thursday as the defense committed three errors that led to all of the Red Sox’s runs.

Lefthander Matt Hoffman took the loss. He retired the first two batters in the fifth inning when Daniel Nava reached on Danny Santana’s fielding error. Shane Victorino reached on a bunt and Dustin Pedroia drove in both runners with a double to center. But Hoffman, who hasn’t given up an earned run in four innings this spring, was impressive before he tired late in his outing and could force his way into a relief role.

‘‘He threw the ball very nicely,’’ manager Ron Gardenhire said of Hoffman.

The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 9,256, a record for Hammond Stadium.

Twins righthander Phil Hughes faced the minimum through two innings but gave up two unearned runs in the third on errors by Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer.

That inning, and other factors, contributed to Hughes throwing 65 pitches over three innings.

“I felt like, overall, it was pretty good,’’ Hughes said. “I ran into a little bit of trouble in the third inning with some things. But it’s good to have those innings when you throw a lot of pitches and have to get through it.’’

The Twins scored three runs in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. Josh Willingham scored on a wild pitch, Kurt Suzuki had an RBI single, and the final run scored when Aaron Hicks grounded into a fielder’s choice.

LA VELLE E. NEAL III

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