Red Sox Down Twins Again In A Very Spring Game

Infielder David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his third inning home run against the Minnesota Twins during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Red Sox found themselves winners once again Monday, downing the Twins for a second straight night in a game that reeked of spring training.

Getting the start for the Twins, Jason Marquis started off strong, striking out Jose Iglesias and David Ortiz around a walk to Kevin Youkilis in a scoreless first. His luck would soon change, however, as a combination of defensive ineptitude and frankly mediocre pitching left him with a four-run second.

Darnell McDonald got things started for Boston, hitting a double past Mike Hollimon at third which also escaped a hopeless-looking Ryan Doumit in left field to allow McDonald an extra base. The error would prove inconsequential, however, as Josh Kroeger's ground ball also found its way into the outfield to bring home the first run of the game.

A passed ball and a Kelly Shoppach single would set the Sox up with runners on the corners before Nick Punto's walk loaded the bases. While Jason Repko would ground out, the Twins could only record the one on the play, letting a second run come across. Up next, Jose Iglesias would end up working the count full before taking a pitch in the dirt that bounced over the catcher's head, allowing another run in as the shortstop took his base. The fourth and final run would come across when Justin Morneau picked Ryan Sweeney's rocket to first, but made an errant throw to second trying to turn a double play.

Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, was having somewhat less difficulty. Though he struggled to locate his fastball in his first appearance since June of last year, Buchholz would manage to pitch just well enough to escape any damage from the two walks and hit batter he allowed in his two innings of work. It was, in many ways, Clay at both his best, and his worst.

Following Clay out of the bullpen, Vicente Padilla had a night halfway between Buchholz and Marquis. While he looked ready to make a strong statement in a 1-2-3 third, Padilla seemed to lose some control in the fourth, giving up three singles--two on clearly missed locations. Still, he would strike out a second batter and induce some weak contact to escape the frame undamaged.

Having already conceded a fifth run on a big shot to right field from David Ortiz in the third, the Twins finally started to climb back into the game in the fifth, scoring two runs as they managed four straight singles off of Will Inman before a double play helped avert any further damage.

It did not take long, however, for the Sox to reassert control over the game. Singles from Will Middlebrooks and Pedro Ciriaco and a walk to Lars Anderson would load the bases from Nate Spears, whose ground-rule double to right would earn the Sox their two runs back. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, catcher Dan Butler would go deep to left field, plating three more and leaving the score at 10-2, where it would hold through the end of the ninth.

The Good

Not that it was necessarily much of a question, but David Ortiz still has it. Not only did the Sox' designated hitter first baseman go deep, but he almost had an opposite field shot as well, banging one off the left field wall for a double.

Dan Butler, of course, also deserves the nod for his long ball.

The Bad

It could be a long year for the Twins. Let's leave it at that.

The Ugly

Clay Buchholz' fastball was at its worst tonight: all over the place, and flat when it wasn't in the dirt. We've seen this before from Clay, however. So long as it's a sporadic problem, it won't keep him down.

Will Inman. During the game thread, I suggested the Sox had found their answer for the 20th rotation spot. I was told that we couldn't be too careful, and so had best go with 30th.

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