FORT MYERS, Fla. – The way Chris Gimenez figures it, taking good at-bats is the route to making the Twins roster, so he was thrilled to fight off a couple of sliders Monday and then line a single up the middle. And the fact that it came in the 10th inning, and drove in the game-winning run?
"That's pretty awesome, too," Gimenez said after his RBI delivered the Twins' fourth consecutive Grapefruit League victory, 2-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals at Hammond Stadium. "Honestly, I would have been OK if it had that at-bat in the sixth inning. I'm trying to show them I take good swings. And that one mattered, so it's pretty cool."
It was the Twins' most unlikely victory in a while, considering they trailed 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, nobody on base, and hit two consecutive routine grounders at Cardinals infielders. But those grounders were both booted, one by St. Louis shortstop Edmundo Sosa, the other by second baseman Eliezer Alvarez, and the back-to-back errors gave the Twins an opening.
Ehire Adrianza took advantage with a tying single, only his second hit of the spring in 13 at-bats, sending the game into extra innings. In the 10th, Bengie Gonzalez singled, moved up on a walk and groundout and scored on Gimenez's clutch hit.
"He's grinding away, trying to make an impression here," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of the veteran catcher, in camp on a minor league contract. "He made a nice adjustment there. He chased an off-speed pitch to get behind in the count, but [Cardinals lefthander Ryan Sherriff] threw one too many."
The game was full of encouraging play for the Twins. Byron Buxton singled, doubled and made a dazzling diving catch in center field to steal a hit. Kyle Gibson and five relievers limited the Cardinals to just seven hits. And left fielder Danny Santana twice threw out baserunners, nailing St. Louis' Sosa at third base to end the eighth inning and Chad Huffman at home plate in the ninth.
"I know he's been working on trying to get a truer throw. He has a tendency when he gets rushed to have that ball tail up the line," Molitor said. "I figured he was going to hit a two-run homer after making those two plays."