Game 26: Escobar, bullpen help lead Twins to victory

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Eduardo Escobar provided the go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning and the bullpen was solid in a 6-4 win for the Twins over the Rays on Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Twins improved to 13-13 with the victory and host the Blue Jays in an afternoon game at Hammond Stadium on Sunday.

What went right: The offense was solid again, as evidenced by the six runs and 12 hits even though Rays ace David Price started the game.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks had another nice game offensively, going 1-for-3 with two walks, including a bases loaded walk against Price in the fourth.

Brian Dozier made a really nice play in the field at second base and also went 1-for-3 with a walk and is looking like the top candidate to bat second to open the season. Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez has also been swinging a hot bat and went 2-for-3 to raise his average to .425.

Dan Rohlfing went 2-for-5 with two hits off Price and is hitting .308 in limited time this spring. Escobar, though, had the big hit with a two-run single off Jim Paduch in the seventh.

The bullpen also did its job, as Tim Wood, Glen Perkins, Alex Burnett and Casey Fien combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Fien and Burnett both threw perfect innings with Fien getting two strikeouts.

What went wrong: Right-hander Kevin Correia was better than his last outing but still gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.

He’s slated to start one more time this spring before the regular season starts and said he wants it to be a good one so he can go into the year on a high note. He also said he hasn’t been told where he’ll be slotted in the rotation.

So while the offense was solid, the Twins did strike out 14 times on the afternoon. Josh Willingham and Darin Mastroianni both went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. But both hitters are still having solid springs at the plate.

What they said: “They’re all getting better. Today was good. Spring Training is a progression. Not only do you have to get your arm and body in shape but you have to get your mind in shape. Spring is almost over, so now is the time to go get it.” — Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson on the pitching staff.

What’s next: Right-hander P.J. Walters is scheduled to take the mound against the Blue Jays on Sunday in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Hammond Stadium. Walters, who is competing for a spot in the rotation, has been solid this spring, as he’s yet to allow a run in 10 innings. Right-hander David Bush is slated to start for Toronto.

Injury update: Right-hander Samuel Deduno was scratched from his scheduled start against the Blue Jays on Sunday because of groin tightness. The Twins aren’t sure how long he’ll be out.

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