Game 8: Colabello’s big day leads Twins to win

BRADENTON, Fla. — Chris Colabello had an impressive day at the plate on Friday, as he picked up three hits, including the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth to lead the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Pirates at McKechnie Field.

Right-hander Vance Worley started for the Twins (5-3) but gave up five runs on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings.

What went right: Colabello started the game on the bench but ended up going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, including an RBI single off left-hander Brandon Mann in the ninth.

After going 3-for-3 on Friday, he’s now hitting .455/.625/.636 with two doubles and five walks in six games. He’s putting himself in the mix for a bench spot as a backup first baseman and right-handed hitting designated hitter.

Second baseman Jorge Polanco also saw action in both the B game at Pittsburgh’s Minor League complex and in the Grapefruit League game and impressed in both. He showed off solid defense at second, while providing an RBI double in the B game and going 1-for-2 with a run in the A game.

Brandon Waring, Danny Santana and Wilkin Ramirez also had RBI singles for the Twins, who scored all six of their runs in the final three innings.

The relievers also all fared well with Kris Johnson throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Sean Gilmartin throwing two scoreless frames. Ryan Pressly, Matt Hoffman, Aaron Thompson and Brooks Raley each threw a scoreless inning.

What went wrong: Worley had trouble locating, as he kept falling behind in counts and ended up giving up seven hits, including a double and a homer to Andrew McCutchen.

Worley wasn’t helped by a few infield singles, and said he was affected by the wind at McKechnie Stadium, but did give up those big hits to McCutchen, who was the winner of the NL MVP Award last season.

It’s still early in camp and it was just one subpar outing but it wasn’t a good showing from Worley, who is out of Minor League options and is trying to make the club as the fifth starter.

Top prospect Byron Buxton also went 0-for-3 in the B game and 0-for-2 in the A game, and is just 2-for-14 in Grapefruit League play. But Buxton, who is regarded as the top prospect in baseball, is still gaining invaluable experience despite his early struggles.

What they said: “At this point, it’s out of my control,” Worley said. “It’s going to be who the best is this spring, and that’s who it’s going to go to. I’m just worrying about getting outs and staying healthy.” — Worley on competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

What’s next: The Twins hit the road for a second straight day on Saturday, making the trip north to play the Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT in Dunedin. Right-hander Phil Hughes, who joined the club on a three-year, $24 million deal this offseason, is set to make his second Grapefruit League start.

Injury update: Outfielder Aaron Hicks didn’t make the trip to Bradenton after feeling discomfort in his right elbow while swinging in the cage on Thursday morning. But Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Hicks is fine and is expected to return to action soon.

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