Martinez, Gibson sharp in starts
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez and Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson each enhanced their chances of earning a spot in their team’s rotation with solid outings, and the Cardinals beat the Twins 3-1 on Wednesday.
Martinez cruised into the fifth, holding the Twins to one hit, but Jason Bartlett had an RBI single to right-center in the sixth that ended the right-hander’s scoreless string at 14 innings.
For Bartlett, the hit was his first of the spring in 27 at-bats.
The 22-year-old righty struck out four but kept his pitch count low by inducing two inning-ending double plays.
”He’s starting to learn his stuff but he’s also trusting a pretty good catcher behind the plate to help him understand which ones he needs to focus on and what pitches are most likely to get him out of a jam,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
Making his fourth appearance – second start – Gibson limited the Cardinals to Matt Adams’ second homer of spring training in 4 1-3 innings. Gibson allowed four hits.
”He’s pitching really well,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”We really like him. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do. That’s good stuff.”
Peter Bourjos doubled and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Samuel Deduno in the eighth inning.
Minnesota: Deduno is also a candidate for the fifth spot in the Twins’ rotation. Deduno had allowed one earned run in 9 2-3 innings. He piggybacked Gibson against the Cardinals, allowing two runs in 2 2-3 innings.
St. Louis: As good as Martinez was in short relief last season, one reason the Cardinals believe he will eventually be a starter is that in minor league starts his fastball didn’t lose much of its velocity over the course of multiple innings.
”There are some guys who can come out and just really light up the (radar) gun for an inning or so. There’s other guys that can hold it. He’s been one that’s been able to hold it,” Matheny said.
Twins: shortstop Pedro Florimon made his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday night and was back in the lineup again on Wednesday. After missing much of the spring because of an appendectomy, Florimon should be a fixture in Minnesota’s lineup over the final week-and-a-half.
”He needs at-bats,” Gardenhire said. ”He needs to play because he sat out the whole spring and then we’ll see where we are in a week and go from there, but I’m going to try to get him out there pretty much every day.”
Cardinals: Second baseman Mark Ellis’ sore knee continues to keep him out of action. Matheny said Ellis could play were it the regular season, but the veteran will likely get at least a couple more days off.
Pat Neshek pitched in a major league game for the first time since leaving Cardinals camp last week to be with his wife for the birth of their child. A non-roster invitee, Neshek struck out two and earned the save on Wednesday.
Barlett received his first spring start at third base for the Twins. Defense hasn’t been the non-roster invitee’s problem. He entered Wednesday’s game 0 for 24 at the plate.
”He’s actually having quality at-bats,” Gardenhire said. ”The numbers in spring training never affect me if you are having quality at-bats.”
After the game, Matheny said St. Louis sent pitcher Tyler Lyons to the minors. Early in the spring, Lyons was thought to be an option for the fifth starting spot. He worked exclusively out of the bullpen once games began, allowing 13 runs in eight innings.