FORT MYERS, FLA. – He didn’t walk or strike out a batter, so Kevin Correia needed some help from his teammates on Wednesday. Boy, did he get it.
“Some unbelievable defense,” the Twins starter said after Chris Parmelee and Brian Dozier made sparkling plays in the Twins’ eventual 9-4 loss to the Orioles in Hammond Stadium. “That’s kind of what I need when I’m pitching out there. No strikeouts, no walks, so the ball’s coming out there.”
Parmelee, in his first game after missing nine days because of a strained groin, backpedaled on Rob Flaherty’s first-inning fly ball, then almost nonchalantly jumped and snatched a home run back from over the right field fence.
“I thought that one was getting out,” said Correia, who gave up two runs, one earned, in 4⅔ innings, the longest start by a Twins pitcher this spring. “But he stayed with it, went back and got it.”
So did Dozier, over and over. Correia induced nine ground-ball outs — five to Dozier, who three times Wednesday left his feet to knock down grounders and converted them into outs every time.
But the defense — and an amazing Twins comeback — were wasted when the Orioles struck for six runs in the ninth.
The Twins, who struck out seven times in four innings against Orioles starter Brian Matusz, trailed 3-1 entering the eighth inning. But Class AA shortstop James Beresford, who has one career home run in six professional seasons, smashed a Todd Redmond pitch over the right-field fence to tie the game. Joe Benson followed with a bloop double, and second baseman Ray Olmedo put the Twins in front with a long home run to right.
That comeback only set up an offensive explosion by Baltimore, which piled up six runs on five hits off relievers Josh Roenicke and Caleb Thielbar.