– A first-inning error, a second-inning fly ball lost in the sun, and a third-inning mental mistake made Kevin Correia’s start against the Red Sox on Thursday look worse than it was. But all the sloppiness combined to doom the split-squad Twins to a 12-5 loss to the Red Sox at Hammond Stadium.

“I wasn’t able to throw back-to-back good pitches,” Correia said after he was scored upon for the third start in a row, raising his ERA to 6.75. “But actually, I’m really close to where I need to be.”

Correia gave up three runs, two of them earned, on six hits over 2 ⅓ innings, and threw close to 60 pitches. Five of the hits were singles, and the sixth was a shallow fly ball that landed at Joe Benson’s feet for a double after the outfielder couldn’t locate it in the sun.

“It’s windy, and sunny, and strange things happen in spring training,” Correia shrugged. “It’s a real tough sun.”

A potential double-play ball turned into a hit in the third inning when shortstop Ray Olmedo’s backhand flip to second base was off-target, ending Correia’s day.

Caleb Thielbar was hit for five runs in 1 ⅔ innings, including a three-run homer by Mike Napoli, and B.J. Hermsen allowed three runs, two of them earned, in 1 ⅔ innings.

Boston pitchers struck out 14 Twins, meanwhile, including four apiece by Benson and Brandon Boggs.

PHIL MILLER