Cardinals 9, Twins 2
St. Louis pitcher Kyle Lohse has reached the point of spring
where he’s trying to bring everything together.
The combination looked good Sunday.
Lohse allowed two runs and five hits in six innings and the
Cardinals beat the Minnesota Twins 9-2.
”Each of the last starts I had something I wanted to
concentrate on and today was kind of a mix of all,” Lohse said.
”I was able to drop some good curveballs in. My slider was really
good. My change-up was good. I was just continually trying to
locate the fastball better and better.”
One fastball Lohse didn’t locate as well as he would have liked
became Luke Hughes’ fourth home run of the spring. Hughes, who was
coming off a 5-for-5 effort in Saturday’s victory over Tampa Bay,
hit the first pitch he saw into a 1-0 first-inning Twins lead.
”I am trying to get ahead of guys and I let that one get back
over the middle,” said Lohse, who has allowed one homer in each of
his five spring starts. ”He did what you are supposed to do with
that fastball that you leave down the middle. I didn’t throw many
Aside from the home run, Lohse didn’t allow any base runners
until fifth. A lead-off walk to Ryan Doumit followed by a one-out
single by Brian Dinkleman put a runner in scoring position for the
first time, but the inning ended when shortstop Rafael Furcal
snagged Joe Benson’s line drive, then touched second for the
unassisted double play.
Lohse allowed his only other run in the sixth when the first
three batters reached on hits, the third being Hughes’ second RBI
of the afternoon.
”It’s good to get into some jams in spring training,” said
Lohse, who struck out six while walking one. ”They are not all
going to be 1-2-3 innings once the season starts, so you have to
pitch out of the stretch in some jams and make some good
Minnesota pitcher Nick Blackburn retired the first 10 batters he
faced before Carlos Beltran’s one-out bloop single fell barely
inside the left field line. Matt Holliday reached out and pulled
the next pitch, a change-up, over the left field wall, putting the
Cardinals up 2-1.
”I feel good right now and hopefully it carries over to the
season,” Holliday said.
The runs were the first allowed by Blackburn in an official game
”I’m ready for spring to wind down,” Blackburn said. ”It was
just nice to face a lineup that’s pretty much one through nine what
you’re going to see during the season. I’m looking forward to
getting out there and actually playing for something that has some
Lance Berkman’s RBI single in the sixth gave the Cardinals a
lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Shane Robinson and Jon Jay added
late inning home runs.
Rain twice delayed the game for a total of 57 minutes.
Notes: Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire announced that Josh
Willingham would be the Twins regular left fielder once the season
starts. Willingham, signed with Minnesota during the off-season
after spending last year with Oakland, had been projected as a
right fielder. …With Willingham grabbing the left field spot, Ben
Revere will now battle Chris Parmalee and Trevor Plouffe for the
right field job. Denard Span is locked into center. ..The Cardinals
released non-roster invitees Alex Cora and Koyie Hill on Sunday.
…Allen Craig could make his first appearance on the main stadium
field in the coming days. ”I think he’s pretty close to being able
to hit out here,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. ”He just
has to pass the test of being able to run the bases.” Craig, who
can play multiple positions for the Cardinals, is rehabbing from
off-season surgery to repair a fractured knee cap