Spring Game Four: Minnesota Twins 7, New York Yankees 3
The Minnesota Twins lineup has undoubtedly showed up thus far, and the early result has been four games and four victories. The victories are irrelevant, and the true story is how well guys like Delmon Young and Brian Buscher have produced in the first week of camp.
Both guys have been put on the spot as they look to earn at-bats, and in their early chances, they couldn't make a better first impression.
Some game notes...
Francisco Liriano had no easy task as the front end of the Yankees lineup featured Damon, Jeter, Teixeira, Rodriguez, Swisher, and Cano. In his first trip to the mound, Liriano struggled in his two innings of work.
The lefty gave up four hits and two earned runs. There is still plenty of time for The Franchise, and it was tough to judge a first appearance against that wrecking crew.
Delmon Young heard the comments about the possibility of a Span, Gomez, and Cuddyer outfield on Opening Day, and there is no doubt that it has motivated him. Young continued his impressive streak of hitting as he went 3-3 on the day, and is now hitting .857 with six hits in seven at-bats in three spring games.
Brian Buscher is in a similar position after being knocked from his platoon at third to the possibility of not making the team. With a good spring Buscher will be in Minneapolis come April as a first and third base backup, and he's off to a nice start. Buscher went 2-3 in the game with two more RBI (he now has four overall), and is now sporting a .750 average.
Some of the other keys hitters were Carlos Gomez, who hit his first home run on the spring, Jason Kubel, who went 1-1 with an RBI double and two walks, and Alejandro Machado, a guy who is looking for a bench spot, who went 1-1.
Out of the 'pen, Jesse Crain and Luis Ayala each pitched for the final time until they return from the WBC. Both pitched perfect innings while Crain struck out one along the way. The Twins actually had a run of four straight perfect innings as R.A Dickey and Bobby Keppel followed up Crain and Ayala with perfect innings of their own.
Jason Jones pitched two innings, the third and fourth innings, and did very well. Jones faced several of the top Yankee players and allowed no runs and just two hits.
Jones is a guy that is currently competing with guys like Philip Humber for a bullpen spot, and outings like this won't hurt. Overall the bullpen pitched seven innings after Liriano and allowed no runs on just three hits.
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