DUNEDIN, FLA. – Fernando Romero’s smooth spring hit a snag on Sunday. A strike-zone-sized snag.
The Twins’ hard-throwing righthander, transitioning to the bullpen this spring, allowed five runs without recording an out on Sunday, and the Twins lost a sloppy game to the Blue Jays, 9-8 at Dunedin Stadium.
Romero had allowed only one run in nine innings this spring, but he never located the strike zone against Toronto. After giving up a sharp single to right, Romero walked three of the next four hitters he faced, the latter two forcing in runs. He wasn’t helped when third baseman Adam Rosales couldn’t handle a potential double-play ball, but Romero was lifted before retiring a batter and three more runners scored when reliever Austin Adams walked Justin Smoak and allowed a single to Cavan Biggio.
“He didn’t really settle in and get to a point where he found his release point,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s a good outing to wipe clean, because I’ve really enjoyed the way he’s thrown the ball.”
The game featured some spring-doldrums play, with 11 walks, two wild pitches, two errors, a hit batter, a pickoff and a passed ball, plus five lead changes. Toronto finally took the lead for good in the eighth inning, when first baseman Rowdy Tellez homered off Twins Class AAA righthander Ryan Eades.
Ehire Adrianza and Tyler Austin each hit their third spring home run for the Twins.