WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. – Matt Hague wasn’t charged with an error, though he probably deserved one. But he definitely was credited with a winning home run, so honestly, who cares about the error?
“Drive in more than you let in, that’s what you have to do,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said with a laugh Sunday after Hague’s two-run, eighth-inning shot into the Twins bullpen delivered his team’s third consecutive Grapefruit League victory, 4-2 over the Nationals at the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Hague, a 31-year-old infielder with 43 games of major league experience, allowed a Justin Haley pickoff throw to get past him in the seventh inning — Haley was charged with the error — helping to spark a two-run rally that put Washington in front.
The Twins tied the score in the eighth when Zack Granite came home on a Sammy Solis wild pitch, and after Kennys Vargas walked, Hague came to the plate with a chance to redeem himself.
It didn’t take long.
“First-pitch changeup,” Molitor said of the pitch that Hague blasted for his first home run of the spring. “That was nice, to get it right back. He didn’t catch that ball on the throw to first, but he came back.”
Hector Santiago came back, too, after a five-run inning in his first start of the spring. The veteran Twins lefthander, who will start for Puerto Rico against Mexico next Saturday, faced 11 batters, gave up no runs, and struck out five. Two of them came after he loaded the bases in the second inning.
“That was a good tuneup game, Everything was working. Mechanics felt pretty clear, good fastball command,” Santiago said. “I’m pumped up. I’m definitely looking forward to Mexico.”
Two of Santiago’s Twins/Puerto Rico teammates who will accompany him had positive farewells, too. Eddie Rosario singled and doubled in three at-bats, and Vargas drew two walks and scored twice.