FORT MYERS, FLA. – What, nobody told Kevin Correia about the Twins’ pitch-to-contact philosophy?
The free-agent signee lost control of the strike zone for an inning Monday, hitting one batter and then walking in a run during Miami’s four-run second, and the result was a rain-shortened 6-2 loss to the Marlins.
It wouldn’t have happened, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, if Correia had allowed his defense to help a little more. Pedro Florimon made a sweet play on a hard ground ball, Joe Mauer threw out a potential base-stealer, Darin Mastroianni dived to catch a fly ball and Justin Morneau scooped up a hot smash and turned it into a run-saving double play.
“We’re catching the ball pretty good, so that ought to tell our pitchers — if they’re paying attention — [to] throw the ball over the damn plate,” Gardenhire said after Correia’s spring ERA rose to 6.46 in five starts. “We’ll take our chances when they hit it that we’ll catch it.”
Gardenhire, though, wrote off the five-run, four-inning start as a glitch, especially since Correia retired eight of the last nine hitters he faced. And Correia, too, said: “I’m not really worried about walking a couple of guys and hitting a guy again — that rarely happens.”
The reason, he figures, is that “I just got caught up in the running game, and got a little too quick to the plate. My arm wasn’t catching up, and I was sailing the ball,” Correia said. “Once I went back to the [full] windup, I got back to where I was.”
Brian Dozier hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run blast to left in the first inning that scored Aaron Hicks, who led off with a walk. But the Twins didn’t score again off Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi.
A heavy rain began falling in the fifth inning, and the game was delayed when the inning ended. When radar maps showed more rain on its way, the final four innings were canceled.