JUPITER, FLA. - Miguel Sano hit his second home run of the spring Saturday, a tape-measure blast that bounced off the Marlins’ complex beyond the left-field wall, and Ricky Nolasco allowed one run over three innings, leading the Twins to a 6-3 victory over the Cardinals in Roger Dean Stadium.
Nolasco gave up a home run to St. Louis center fielder Randal Grichuk, and A.J. Achter surrendered one to Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds. But for sheer distance, neither of those blasts compared to Sano’s two-run shot off Cardinals lefthander Tyler Lyons to cap the Twins’ four-run sixth. After pounding a homer 400 feet to straightaway center field last Monday in Bradenton, Sano might have launched this one even farther.
Alex Meyer allowed two hits and a walk but pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Nolasco, keeping his spring ERA at 0.00 as he competes for the open spot in the Twins’ rotation. Nolasco is assured of a spot and said he battled his command during his outing, which included a 25-pitch first inning. But he was satisfied with his four-hit, one-run, two-strikeout effort.
“I’ve still got some things to work on, but I was decent,” Nolasco said. “They’re always a tough team to pitch against — their goal is grinding at-bats out — so it was a good test.”
It was a reunion of sorts for Twins outfielder Shane Robinson, who played parts of five seasons with St. Louis. Robinson, who went 0-for-2 against his old team, received a long and loud ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat.
The Twins and Cardinals play a rematch Sunday, albeit on the other side of the state. Kyle Gibson will face Carlos Martinez in Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.