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Legends On Deck

Feeling Minnesota: Red Sox Drop Grapefruit Opener

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“I just looked in the mirror and things aren’t looking so good. I’m looking California, and feeling Minnesota” – Chris Cornell “Outshined”.

Well, I’m not sure if I’m looking California, although I AM wearing shorts (and I have a California state flag sticker on my laptop, so there’s that). However, I am most definitely feeling Minnesota, having visited the Twins newly renovated spring training complex for games the last two evenings. On Wednesday, the Twins played the University of Minnesota, defeating the Golden Gophers in an exhibition game 3-1. Outfielder Byron Buxton was 2 for 3 with two doubles, a run scored and one RBI. Infielder Jorge Polanco, hit a solo home run in the 7th. Twins reliever Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless inning after starter Jose Berrios threw 40 pitches over two innings, striking out four.

Thursday marked the first regular Grapefruit League game for both the Twins and Red Sox, with Boston having played Northeastern University and Boston College in two seven inning games on Tuesday. It was the first of eight games between the two clubs who share spring training in Lee County, albeit in ballparks which are located six miles apart.

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly, a native of Anaheim, California was most certainly feeling Minnesota last evening, allowing four runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings in a back and forth ballgame. The Twins scored in each of the first six innings, taking the lead for good in the bottom of the 6th on a throwing error by losing pitcher Brian Johnson as Minnesota escaped with a 9-8 victory. Eduardo Escobar homered in the 3rd for the Twins.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit a 4th inning grand slam after which five relievers shut Boston out the rest of the way. Both teams combined for 24 hits. Red Sox pinch runner Matty Johnson was picked off first base by lefthander Aaron Thompson to end the game. Casey Fein picked up the win with Thompson earning a save. Mike Napoli was 1 for 3 with an RBI single.

The Red Sox play at home Friday against the Miami Marlins while the Twins go on the road for a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte. Both games start at 1:05 PM.

In other baseball news, Astros prospect Mark Appel picked up the win in Houston’s 6-3 victory over the Phillies in a Thursday afternoon game in Kissimmee, Florida. Appel pitched two innings allowing a run on three hits and striking out two.

Former Royals prospect Sugar Ray Marimon earned the save for Atlanta in a 6-4 win over the Tigers. Outfielder Steven Moya was 1 for 3 with a double for Detroit.

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Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015