Game 28: Pelfrey solid but bullpen falters in loss

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins rallied for two runs in the seventh inning but Minor League pitcher Jason Lane gave up three runs in the ninth inning to hand the Twins a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals on Monday at Hammond Stadium.

With the loss, the Twins fell to 14-14 in Grapefruit League play. They host the Orioles in a day game at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday.

What went right: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey turned in his best outing of the spring, as he gave up one run on five hits and a walk over five innings.

Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery on May 1, is set to make one more start on Saturday before the start of the regular season. But he appears to be out of the mix for the Opening Day start against the Tigers on April 1, as Vance Worley appears to be the top candidate because he’s slated to start Wednesday.

Reliever Ryan Pressly threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief and looks to be a lock at this point in spring, which is impressive as a Rule 5 Draft pick. If he makes the Twins, he must remain on the 25-man roster for the entire season, or else he must be offered back to the Red Sox.

Left-hander Tyler Robertson threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings but looks to be on the outside looking in once the final round of cuts comes this week. He has a 6.75 ERA this spring.

Joe Mauer continued his impressive spring, going 2-for-3, and is hitting .435. Eduardo Escobar went 3-for-4 and is hitting .346.

What went wrong: The ninth inning was a mess for Minnesota but it came with Minor Leaguers in the game for the Twins.

Lane, who is a converted outfielder who played parts of six years in the Majors, gave up three runs in the ninth inning. Lane is still working out the kinks of being a pitcher, as he spent most of last year pitching for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in Texas.

What they said: “At this point, he’s in. Things can change but at this point, he’s in. And we feel good about that. We’re excited for him.” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on non-roster outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.

What’s next:Right-hander Liam Hendriks is set to start for the Twins in a 1:05 p.m. ET game on Tuesday against the Orioles at Hammond Stadium. Hendriks is battling for a spot in the rotation but saw his chances improve on Monday, when the Twins trimmed their roster by four players and have just 27 healthy players in camp. Right-hander Kevin Gausman is scheduled to take the mound for the Orioles.

Injury update: Right-handers Tim Wood (right rotator cuff strain) and Samuel Deduno (strained groin) continue to be shut down with their injuries, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan. Ryan said there is not a timetable for a return for either pitcher yet.

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