Game 8: Morneau homers in loss to Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — First baseman Justin Morneau homered but Minnesota’s offense mostly struggled in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday at Hammond Stadium.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Twins, who fell to 5-3 in Grapefruit League play.

What went right: Morneau looks absolutely locked in at the plate so far this spring, and hit his first homer in Grapefruit League play off Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves.

Morneau leaves camp with a .471 batting average with a team-high eight RBIs in six games. He also played in six of the club’s first eight games, including five in a row, to get ready for his time with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. There’s definitely reason for optimism, as Morneau is finally healthy after dealing with various injuries the last few years.

Catcher Joe Mauer went 1-for-3 with a single and is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a .563 on-base percentage in five games. He’s flying out to Arizona on Sunday to join Team USA.

Closer Glen Perkins, who is also leaving camp to join Team USA in the Classic, threw a 1-2-3 fourth inning and struck out two.

Left-hander Brian Duensing threw 1 1/3 perfect innings with a strikeout. Fellow lefty Caleb Thielbar also threw 1 1/3 perfect innings for the Twins. Deolis Guerra and Andrew Albers both tossed a scoreless inning in relief.

What went wrong: The offense didn’t do much, as evidenced by the fact that Morneau’s homer was the only run the Twins scored in the loss.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson, making his first Grapefruit League start after throwing two scoreless innings in relief on Sunday, had trouble with his command in the second inning. Gibson, who had Tommy John surgery in September of 2011, gave up one run on three hits over 1 2/3 innings and needed 48 pitches record five outs.

Right-hander Esmerling Vasquez went 1 2/3 innings but gave up the go-ahead RBI single to Ryan Sweeney in the fifth inning.

What they said: “Hopefully it means we’re ready to go. It’s a good way to head in there. That’s for sure.” — Morneau said about homering in his last at-bat before the World Baseball Classic.

What’s next: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey is set to make his second Grapefruit League start on Sunday against the Rays in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Charlotte Sports Park. Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery on May 1, gave up three runs in 1 2/3 innings in his first start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Left-hander David Price is slated to start for the Rays.

Injury update: Outfielder Darin Mastroianni (sore left hamstring) is expected to return to action by middle or late this week. His injury is not considered serious. … Left-hander Scott Diamond (elbow) threw his first full bullpen session on Thursday without any issues and is scheduled to throw another on Sunday. … Right-hander Anthony Swarzak (ribs) played catch for the first time this spring on Thursday, and again on Friday, and said everything is progressing on schedule. … Left-hander Rafael Perez (shoulder) played catch from 90 feet on Friday and will progress from there. … Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (strained intercostal muscle) is feeling much better but the Twins are taking it easy with him. He should return to action by next week.

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