FORT MYERS, FLA. – "We are human," Jose Berrios said with a shrug on Tuesday, shortly after his four-inning, four-run start against the Pirates proved it.
Berrios, who had allowed only two singles in his first two Grapefruit League starts, gave up eight hits this time, and the Twins lost to Pittsburgh 4-2 at Hammond Stadium.
Berrios stuck mostly to breaking pitches instead of his fastball on Tuesday, and the Pirates took advantage with line drives and ground balls that got through the infield. "They came to the ballpark ready to swing a lot, so it was a good day to use offspeed pitches," said Berrios, who struck out only one. "That's part of spring training."
In fact, manager Rocco Baldelli said, it was good practice for the veteran righthander.
"Sometimes guys put the ball in play and they get hits, whether they hit the ball hard, medium or soft," Baldelli said. "It's OK for Jose to have to go out there and pitch with some guys on base and work through some situations."
Five Twins relievers pitched an inning apiece of scoreless ball, but the Twins, who used a potential opening day lineup, could not take advantage until mounting a two-run rally, aided by a dropped fly ball by Pirates right fielder Cal Mitchell, ruled an RBI double for Andrew Romine, in the bottom of the ninth. Drew Maggi singled Romine home, but Aaron Sabato grounded out to end the game.
Pirates righthander Chad Kuhl walked two and allowed three singles in his three innings, but held the Twins scoreless. Former Twins righthander Sean Poppen struck out three in his two scoreless innings for Pittsburgh.
•Twins second baseman Jorge Polanco left the game because of tightness in the adductor muscle in his left thigh. Polanco landed on the baseball while trying to make a diving play, and after conferring with assistant trainer Masa Abe, stayed in the game.
But after grounding out, Baldelli said, Polanco "felt a little tightness in his groin," and he was replaced.
"He's going to be fine. We're going to give him tomorrow off, he'll do a little treatment, then have the [scheduled] off day," Baldelli said. "I wouldn't expect this to linger much more than a couple of days."