FORT MYERS, Fla. – Say this for the Twins: They haven’t been shut out.
But Minnesota scored only one run Thursday for the fifth time in its past eight games, falling to Boston 4-1 at JetBlue Park.
“We’re throwing the ball just fine. But we’re not swinging,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Twins lost for the eighth time in nine games to fall to 8-15-3 on the spring. “We’ve got a few guys struggling, and we’ve got to get them swinging. I’d like to see a few hits before we start.”
More than a few guys. Jason Kubel is batting .186, Kurt Suzuki is at .189, and Pedro Florimon .182. But nobody would like a few hits right now more than Josh Willingham, who struck out three times against Boston, giving him 13 in spring training. Willingham has two hits in 39 spring at-bats, and none since March 16.
“He’s fighting it right now. I could see tonight he’s a little flustered out there,” Gardenhire said of the 35-year-old outfielder.
“He knows we’re fixing to start this thing, and he wants to have a better feel. We’ll see what we can do here in the next couple of days to get him some confidence.
‘‘He’s a veteran, he should be able to handle it, but right now, I can see he’s not handling it very well.”
Aaron Hicks had two hits, one of them an RBI double that drove in former Gopher Nate Hanson with the Twins’ only run. He’s now batting .340 on the spring, not far from the .370 that earned him the center field job last spring.
Kevin Correia allowed only one run over five innings to close his spring with a solid start against the world champions.
But setup man Jared Burton allowed a run on two hits to break the tie, and closer Glen Perkins gave up three hits and two runs.