FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Red Sox kept Aaron Hicks in the ballpark Friday. But they didn’t keep the rookie from helping beat them.
One day after hitting three home runs against Philadelphia, Hicks sparked the Twins again, lining a two-out double into the right-field corner in the third inning to ignite a two-run inning that carried Minnesota to victory, 2-0 at JetBlue Park.
Hicks’ spring batting average actually dropped seven points to .400 with his 1-for-3 night, but his double off Boston starter Ryan Dempster was enough. Brian Dozier singled Hicks home, and Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit followed with hits to score Dozier.
“The kid leads off and gets out there,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We get a couple of hits after that, and it’s a nice, crisp ballgame.”
The crispness was largely due to Mike Pelfrey, who pitched three shutout innings, and the bullpen, which was just as good. The Red Sox managed five hits, four of them singles, and put a runner on third base in just the first and ninth innings. Brian Duensing and Josh Roenicke pitched two innings apiece, and Michael Tonkin and Tyler Robertson protected the shutout in the eighth and ninth as the Twins won for the first time in three “Mayors Cup” meetings with Boston.
Duensing faced six hitters once Pelfrey finished and retired them all easily, with only one managing to get the ball out of the infield. “You see his velocity, getting up there to 92, 93 at times,” Gardenhire said. “He looks like he feels really comfortable, and he’s throwing real nice.”