March 22, 2021

14 hits, 12 runs and 8 extra-base hits: Twins finally get a spring training laugher

Prior to Sunday’s game, I had wondered: Where is that spring training game where the bats come alive and the hits come easy and it produces the lopsided win or horse race we come to expect during exhibition play?

The Twins have been on the receiving end of one of those games — the 9-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox comes to mind — but haven’t produced one themselves. But that all changed Sunday after the Twins poured it on for a 12-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins scored the 12 runs on 14 hits, including eight extra-base hits, six of them home runs.

It’s a welcome change of pace after the Twins combined for only four runs on nine hits in their two previous games.

After back-to-back misfires from Jose Berrios and Matt Shoemaker, Twins starting pitching got back on track with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Kenta Maeda, who has had a chart-topping spring so far, struck out six over five-plus innings, and allowed only one earned run. The bullpen was sharp the rest of the way, including Brandon Waddell, who may have a little “Rube” in him after all. He struck out five of the seven batters he faced.

Randy Dobnak also pitched well on Friday, although the Twins lost to the Atlanta Braves, 4-2. The Dobber struck out five over three-plus innings and allowed a run, but it was unearned. The bullpen wasn’t nearly as good Friday, issuing eight walks and allowing three more runs in the loss.

Extra innings…

-Jose Berrios gets the ball on Monday versus the Atlanta Braves.

-The Twins are 8-10 through Sunday.

-Among the home run hitters on Sunday: Oregon State University product, Trevor Larnach, who hit his first homer of the spring.

-J.A. Happ got the win on Sunday, but only because he benefited from the Twins’ offensive explosion. Otherwise, he wasn’t very good, serving up five runs (four earned) on six hits over three innings. I’m suddenly having serious doubts about Happ’s ability to make a worthwhile contribution this season.

-You know who’s struggling? Max Kepler, who went hitless again on Sunday with two strikeouts. He’s now hitting .074.

-And then there was this…



Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.