Game 6: Hendriks, Morneau lead Twins to victory
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Right-hander Liam Hendriks tossed three scoreless innings and Justin Morneau drove home three runs to help the Twins to a 7-1 win over the Orioles on Thursday at Hammond Stadium.
Hendriks, who was making his second start of the spring and is competing for a spot in Minnesota’s rotation, gave up four hits and struck out two. He improved his ERA to 1.80 ERA in five Grapefruit League innings.
What went right: Hendriks was sharp and is making a case to start the season in the rotation, especially if Scott Diamond (elbow) starts the year on the disabled list.
But he also had a great spring last year and it didn’t translate to the Majors, as evidenced by his 5.59 ERA in 16 starts. Hendriks, though, said he’s made some mechanical adjustments so he’ll definitely be worth watching. He’s been dominant in the Minors, including last year when he had a 2.20 ERA in 16 outings with Triple-A Rochester.
Morneau continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs. He’s hitting .467 with three doubles and seven RBIs this spring. But Josh Willingham has been even better, as he went 2-for-2 and is batting .727 (8-for-11) this spring.
Catcher Joe Mauer, fresh off the announcement that he and his wife, Maddie, are expecting twins, went 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. He’s hitting .375 (3-for-8) with a .615 on-base percentage in four games.
Cole De Vries, Alex Burnett, Casey Fien and Anthony Slama each threw a scoreless inning in relief. It was the Grapefruit League debut for May, who was acquired in the Ben Revere trade with Philadelphia. He walked two batters but was able to get out of the jam.
What went wrong: Not too much went wrong for the Twins, who won their fourth straight game.
But reliever Deolis Guerra struggled a bit in the ninth inning, as he gave up a run on a hit and a walk. He’s allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings this spring.
What they said: “It’s unbelievable. What a blessing. I’m just very excited and very happy. I really couldn’t believe it at first. It’s still kind of a shock. It’s starting to hit me now that we’re starting to tell people. I’m just very excited.” — Mauer said about his wife being pregnant with twins.
What’s next: The Twins are making the trek across the state to play the Marlins in Jupiter on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Roger Dean Stadium. Right-hander Vance Worley, who was acquired in the trade that Ben Revere to Philadelphia, is scheduled to make his second start of the spring for the Twins. Right-hander Henderson Alvarez is slated to start for the Marlins.
Injury update: Outfielder Darin Mastroianni left Thursday’s game against the Orioles in the fourth inning with a sore left hamstring, and is day to day. He tweaked his hamstring on a check swing during his at-bat against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman. He still managed to hit a double that at-bat but was taken out for pinch-runner Clete Thomas.