Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Mastroianni returns as Twins defeat Pirates, 5-4

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: March 9, 2013 - 3:20 PM

BRADENTON, FLA. -- Darin Mastroianni returned to action with two hits, a stolen base and an RBI on Saturday, and Ray Olmedo singled home Eduardo Escobar with the tie-breaking run, leading the Twins to their third straight Grapefruit League road victory, 5-4 over the Pirates at McKechnie Field.

Mastroianni, sidelined nine days by a sore left hamstring, led off the game with a line single to center, but he was promptly picked off first base by Pirates starter A.J. Burnett. Mastroianni, though, later drove in a run with another hit.

He was also involved in a misplay that cost starter Cole De Vries his spotless spring record. After Alex Presley led off the bottom of the first with an infield hit, Travis Snider lifted a routine fly to left-center, and Mastroianni, playing right, and center fielder Joe Benson converged on the ball. They bumped as Benson tried to make the catch, and the ball fell to the ground for an error. Two batters later, Clint Robinson's sacrifice fly scored Presley, the first run, albeit unearned, that De Vries has allowed in four Grapefruit League appearances.

But De Vries maintained his 0.00 ERA in three strong innings; after Presley's leadoff single, in fact, De Vries didn't allow another hit, striking out one.

Brandon Boggs and Eduardo Escobar each doubled for the Twins, and both scored runs, Escobar's the tie-breaker in the seventh inning. Clete Thomas' infield hit in the ninth added another run, and Wilkin Ramirez followed with a bases-loaded walk to end the scoring.

Casey Fien allowed one run over two innings, on Ivan DeJesus Jr.'s home run to left, and Alex Meyer gave up only one hit in his three-inning performance. Anthony Slama surrendered a pair of runs on two walks and two hits, but minor-league righthander Virgil Vasquez made his spring debut by retiring Darren Ford on a broken-bat grounder to third baseman Mark Sobolewski to earn a save.

The Twins, 9-6 in Grapefruit League play, face the Pirates again on Sunday, this time at Hammond Stadium. Liam Hendriks is scheduled to start for Minnesota.


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