AP NEWS

Twins fall to Red Sox in Grapefruit League opener

February 23, 2018 GMT

FORT MYERS, Fla. Dietrich Enns escaped one Boston rally Friday by picking off a runner. He had no such luck an inning later.

Enns, beginning a long shot effort to capture a spot in the Twins rotation, allowed back-to-back two-out doubles in the fourth inning, and the Twins absorbed a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in their Grapefruit League opener at JetBlue Park.

Blake Swihart and Jeremy Barfield connected off Enns and eight Boston pitchers limited the Twins to just five hits, and just three until the ninth inning. Minnesota scored a run in the seventh without recording a hit Red Sox lefthander Logan Boyd walked outfielder Ryan LaMarre with the bases loaded and then added two more in the ninth on LeMarres single. Nick Gordon, who had the Twins only extra-base hit, a ninth-inning double, scored on the play; he was also hit by a pitch for the season straight day, having been plunked by a University of Minnesota pitcher in an exhibition one night earlier.

The Twins put the tying run on third base in the ninth, but Class AAA outfielder James Ramsey hit into a double play to end the game.

Both teams wore the dark blue caps of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highs baseball team, to show their support for the victims and survivors of last weeks mass shooting at the Parkland, Fla., school.

That was pretty special. I dont know about anyone else, but I got chills during that moment of silence, said Twins starter Aaron Slegers. With all the people in the ballpark, and realizing theres a lot bigger things going on than baseball. And that we could offer a small token by wearing those caps was pretty cool.

Slegers performance was encouraging for the rookie, the Twins minor league pitcher of the year last season. Hes also trying to earn a spot in the rotation, and retiring six of the seven batters he faced was a good start, particularly since Red Sox stars Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez were the first three hitters he faced and he retired them all.

That top of the order they throw out there doesnt intimidate me like it used to, Slegers said, detailing how much his four appearances for the Twins last year had helped him this spring. If I had faced that a year ago, maybe I would have gone about that differently. It just instills that attack factor, that I can pitch at the highest level.