FORT MYERS, FLA. – The first test run of the new Twins offense was a success.
Cleanup hitter Eddie Rosario launched a two-run homer Monday, Nelson Cruz bashed a ball off the center-field fence and Jorge Polanco had two hits and an RBI, scoring both times as the Twins beat the Red Sox 4-1 in a Grapefruit League game at Hammond Stadium.
The Twins utilized what projects to be their complete Opening Day lineup — Max Kepler at the top, Byron Buxton at the bottom, and lots of power hitters in between — for the first time this spring, and it produced instant results.
“It was nice to get a lot of the regulars in there. I could see a lineup that looks like this, or similar, rolling out several times this week,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. What about on March 28, when the season begins at Target Field against the Indians?
“We’re going to have to wait till Opening Day to find out,” he said with a smile.
The lineup clicked in the first inning, when Polanco doubled and trotted home when Rosario delivered his fourth spring home run, a blast into the right-field seats off Boston righthander Nathan Eovaldi.
In the fifth inning, Buxton led off with a hot smash that glanced off Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ glove for an error. Buxton stole his second base of the day, then advanced to third base by tagging up on a popup to shallow right, which second baseman Brock Holt caught with his back to the infield. Buxton scored on Polanco’s second hit of the day, and Cruz, the new Twins designated hitter, brought Polanco home with a 400-blast that just missed clearing the wall in left-center.
Jose Berrios gave up a first-inning run on J.D. Martinez’s RBI single, but that was all the offense the defending world champions could muster off the Twins’ Opening Day starter and four relievers.