FORT MYERS, FLA. – “If you’re going to give them up, you may as well give up big ones,” Liam Hendriks said Friday night after living up to that sentiment. Hendriks allowed three runs over four innings, including a home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that carried deep into the right field stands at JetBlue Park, and the Red Sox shut out Minnesota 5-0.
Aaron Hicks doubled, walked and made two athletic catches in center field — one a diving catch of Mike Carp’s drive into the Little Fenway “triangle,” the other a long running catch of Ryan Sweeney’s blast — but the Twins managed only six hits off Boston starter Felix Doubront and a trio of relievers and never seriously threatened. No Twin reached third base until the eighth inning.
Hendriks, locked in competition with Cole De Vries and P.J. Walters for a spot in Minnesota’s starting rotation, surrendered a first-inning run and Saltalamacchia’s two-run homer in the fourth.
Brian Duensing allowed an eighth-inning run on two hits and a sacrifice fly by Dan Butler.
Despite seeing his spring ERA increase to 6.00, Hendriks said he was encouraged by the outing, especially after allowing six runs over his past two starts.
“Last start, I was crossing my body and felt all out of whack. This time, in the bullpen session with Rick [Anderson, the Twins’ pitching coach], I worked on really staying in line and throwing my hips towards the plate,” he said. “It worked really well tonight. Fastball command was a lot better.”
Well, except for that shot by Saltalamacchia. “A sinker that stayed up. It was just a little bit up and a little bit down the middle,” Hendriks said. “If I get it [inside] another couple of inches, he misses it like he had the first couple of times. ... Just the one bad pitch.”