Game 25: Baker roughed up in loss to Rays
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Right-hander Scott Baker struggled in his first start since March 6, surrendering seven runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings in the Twins’ 10-4 loss to the Rays on Monday at Hammond Stadium.
The Twins have a chance to snap their two-game skid when they play the Orioles in Sarasota on Tuesday. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are both on the travel list to play in the game.
What went right: Morneau continued to show signs that his swing is coming around, as he went 1-for-3 with a double to mark his third-straight game with an extra-base hit.
He also shed some light on why he’s been serving as DH so much this spring, as it was doctors who told him that it can help him avoid suffering any concussion-related symptoms. Look for more details in today’s notebook.
Mauer also went 1-for-3 and is hitting .333 this spring. Ryan Doumit, starting in right field, connected on his first homer of the spring in the second inning. Brian Dinkelman went 2-for-2, Ben Revere went 2-for-3 and Chris Parmelee went 1-for-1 with a walk.
Right-hander Jeff Manship was the only reliever not to allow a run, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Baker.
What went wrong: Baker simply wasn’t sharp, as he was hit hard, including a pair of homers from Ben Zobrist and Elliot Johnson. Both home runs came with two outs, and brought home a total of six runs, as Zobrist’s was a grand slam and Johnson’s was a two-run shot.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also didn’t like Baker’s pace, as he said he was taking too long to make his pitches. On a positive note, however, Baker said his elbow felt just fine.
The Twins also made some sloppy plays, as they failed to turn a double play in the fifth inning on a groundball hit by Jose Molina. Alexi Casilla should’ve come off the bag to make the turn, but instead jumped in the air and wasn’t able to make the throw.
Joe Benson was also doubled off second base on a line drive hit by Drew Butera in the seventh inning. Benson froze on the play, but should’ve retreated back to second because the Twins were already down 7-2 at that point.
Liam Hendriks allowed a two-run homer to Cody Rogers in the eighth. But otherwise, Hendriks pitched well over four innings.
What they said: “Not to get into the medical stuff too much, but [the doctors] said before that if my body gets worn down too much, I’m more vulnerable to having the symptoms reoccur,” Morneau said about why he’s been DHing so much this spring. “The chance of going backwards is when I get worn down. I can have the fogginess and the headaches, and all that stuff can return, if my system gets too worn down. Then I’m in a vulnerable position.”
What’s next: The Twins make the trek to Sarasota to face the Orioles on Tuesday with right-hander Anthony Swarzak scheduled to make his first start of the spring. Swarzak has only been used in relief so far, posting a 6.35 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. Swarzak, who is out of Minor League options, is being stretched out in case he’s used as a long reliever to start the season. Matt Capps, Glen Perkins and Matt Maloney are also scheduled to pitch for the Twins.
Injury update: Outfielder Trevor Plouffe (strained right hamstring) is scheduled to play in a Minor League game on Wednesday. He’s slated to run the bases on Tuesday. … Infielder Sean Burroughs left Monday’s game in the sixth inning with a forearm contusion after being hit by a pitch. He’s day to day. … Outfielder Josh Willingham was a late scratch with a tweaked right ankle. He’s also day to day.