Red Sox drop their Spring home finale to the Twins, 5-2
The Red Sox dropped their last home game of Spring Training to the Minnesota Twins, 5-2. The Red Sox sent a variation of their best lineup in one of the last three tune-ups before the season starts in Philadelphia, with the exception of utility whiz, Brock Holt, who started at shortstop and played the whole game. Lefthander Brian Johnson (1-1, 2.93, 6 games, 2 starts, 15.1 inn. 16 K 1 save this Spring coming in) started for the Red Sox. The Minnesota Twins started free agent signing from last winter, Ricky Nolasco, who scattered four hits in three innings of work.
The Red Sox managed to score first in this game, but nothing much went right after that. Shane Victorino, who had a single and his first stolen base of the Spring, drove in the Pablo Sandoval, who had doubled in the second inning. Johnson appeared well on his way to shutting down the Twins all day, but in the third inning, the trouble started. After retiring the first eight batters, a single, walk and two-run double by AL Spring Training RBI leader Eduardo Escobar, gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota tacked on another run the the fourth inning. Boston matched it in the bottom half when Mike Napoli homered for the second consecutive night to trim the lead to 3-2. That man Escobar bested Johnson again in the fifth inning driving in his third run, with his second double of the night. Escobar scored on a Johnson wild pitch, later in the inning, to make the score 5-2, which turned out to be the final score. The Red Sox could get nothing going after Napoli’s homer. They could not get more than one runner on in an inning. They were just one for eight on the night with runners in scoring position.
- The Red Sox must be somewhat excited by the Spring Training of Napoli who slugged his sixth home run of the Spring. Napoli was already slugging .861 coming into the game so that gaudy number should improve with tonight’s circuit clout.
- The Red Sox defense shined tonight, Jeff Bianchi at second base, Daniel Nava in right field and Allen Craig at first base all made solid sliding or diving stops to take hits away.
- No Red Sox hitter reached base more than one time.
Johnson was seemingly cruising for his first 2.2 innings, retiring all batters. After that, he surrendered seven hits and a walk in two more innings for a line of 4.2 innings, seven hits, five earned runs, and one walk. Only his seven strikeouts on the night (23 in 20 Spring innings) prevented his grade from being worse.
Varvaro was the only reliever to record four outs, so he is the one who gets the award, but the entire bullpen held the Twins scoreless for the last four and a third innings. No one was too spectacular, but Varvaro gets the Game Ball because he struck out a batter and Edward Mujica didn’t.
There were not many great candidates in this category because the offense did a primer on scattering their hits, unable to put together any kind of sustained rally for the night. Napoli gets it because he had the only Red Sox home run on the night.
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