DUNEDIN, FLA. – The wind was blowing out at Dunedin Stadium on Saturday, and pitchers paid the price when hitters got the ball in the air.
The Twins scored their most runs in any spring training game so far, but they also gave up their most in a 13-8 loss to Toronto. The teams combined for five home runs and 11 extra-base hits.
With the score tied 8-8 in the eighth and the bases loaded, Toronto’s Jon Berti doubled off the left-field wall off Twins lefthander Lewis Thorpe, driving in Ezequiel Carrera with the go-ahead run. A second runner was thrown out at home plate.
Thorpe then walked Steve Pearce to load the bases and was replaced by sidearmer Tom Hackimer. He hit the first batter he faced, forcing in a run. Toronto’s Jason Leblebijian grounded to third baseman Gregorio Petit, who threw home for a forceout. But umpire Jeremie Rehak ruled catcher Jordan Pacheco failed to step on home plate.
“He said [Pacheco] just was not on [the plate],” Molitor said. “He said, ‘I’m not going to call it unless it was obvious.’ ”
Hackimer walked in another batter and gave up a sacrifice fly to make it 13-8.
Toronto led 3-0 through two innings, including home runs by Kevin Pillar and Yangervis Solarte. Wind-blown homers became the rage after that, as the Twins’ Taylor Featherston, Toronto’s Russell Martin and the Twins’ Ryan LaMarre each hit three-run homers, and the game entered the eighth tied 8-8.
“I’ve been in this park enough to know that, when the prevailing wind to right center takes over, the ball is going to find its way over the fence a few times,” Molitor said. “We took advantage. They took advantage. A couple were hit really good, there’s no doubt about that.”
La VELLE E. NEAL III