FORT MYERS, FLA. – In two spring trainings with the Twins, Marwin Gonzalez hit one home run at Hammond Stadium. He found that missing power stroke, from both sides of the plate, on Thursday.
Gonzalez, who signed with the Red Sox as a free agent last month, gave the Red Sox an early lead with a first-inning home run, then slugged a long three-run home run off former teammate Devin Smeltzer in the fifth inning, leading Boston to a 5-4, eight-inning victory over the Twins.
Rookie Alex Kirilloff provided Minnesota's only run until the final inning, crushing a 410-foot home run over the center field fence, his first of the spring, off starter Eduardo Rodriguez in the second inning.
Matt Shoemaker had the most impressive day for the Twins, becoming the first starting pitcher to complete four innings, and Gonzalez's first-inning blow into the right-field seats was his only real mistake. Shoemaker's sinker produced seven ground balls, and though he struck out only one batter, he also allowed only one runner to reach second base.
"Shoe was great," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Very short in his work. Threw the ball great. When guys did get on, too, holding the ball and with his pickoffs, he's shown himself to have a really good camp.
"Some of his outings have almost been so brief and quick that we've got to get him a little extra work at times, but we'll certainly take it. Exactly what you're looking for, for a guy to come into camp in great shape and throwing the ball well. I can't say enough good things about this outing."
The game was tied when Smeltzer entered in the fifth inning, and he recorded two quick outs. But the lefthander then walked Michael Gettys and Marcus Wilson, surrendered a run-scoring single to Enrique Hernandez, and then left a two-strike pitch in the strike zone where Gonzalez, batting righthanded, could turn on it. It landed high on the left-field berm, putting Boston ahead for good.
The Twins made it tight in the eighth, however, with a three-run rally off Red Sox righthander Colten Brewer. Brent Rooker and Gilberto Celestino led off the innings with back-to-back doubles, and after a strikeout, Drew Maggi smashed a two-run homer onto the berm in left. But Brewer struck out Travis Blankenhorn and Tomas Telis to end the game, stopping the Twins' three-game Grapefruit League winning streak.
The Twins face Atlanta, which has shut out the Twins in both previous meetings this spring, Friday at Hammond Stadium (noon, FSN). Michael Pineda will start for the Twins.