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Rays rout Twins' Baker in final start

April 1, 2010
From AP wire reports

Scott Baker sure didn't look like an opening day starter in his final outing of the spring for the Minnesota Twins.

Baker gave up eight runs and 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings of Minnesota's 10-3 split-squad loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday.

After breezing through his previous five appearances of the spring, it's not the kind of performance he was hoping for with the opener less than a week away.

"It wasn't the last start that I wanted," Baker said. "I feel like I battled and never gave in. Sometimes you have days like that."

Baker only gave up three earned runs total in his previous five outings of the spring and carried a 1.40 ERA into this start. He will pitch in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels on April 5, having finished the spring 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

"I feel good. I'm healthy," Baker said. "I feel like the ball's still coming good out of my hand. Obviously we're not robots so sometimes you're going to struggle a little bit."

Ben Zobrist went 3-for-3 with two doubles and four RBI for the Rays, who won their 19th game of the exhibition season. That's a franchise record, one better than 2008 when they made the World Series.

Rays starter Wade Davis allowed two runs on four hits and struck out five in six innings.

Baker was in trouble from the start Wednesday. He gave up a leadoff double to Sean Rodriguez, a single to Reid Brignac and then a two-run double to Zobrist before even recording an out.

Zobrist had another two-run double in the second inning, and the Rays chased Baker with a four-run third that made it 8-2. Rodriguez, who had three hits, added an RBI double.

Twins slugger Justin Morneau went 0-for-4 and watched his spring training average fall to .156. He missed the last three weeks of last season with a back injury and has been easing his way through spring training so far this year.

Morneau has cut down on the amount of swings he takes per day, but has been slow to get going with the lighter workout regimen.

"He's just fighting himself a little bit right now," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

n Twins (ss) 4, Yankees 2: J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris each had two hits and an RBI for the Twins.

Alex Rodriguez fouled a ball sharply off his left foot in the second, remained in the game and two innings later hit an opposite-field homer to right.

Yankees fifth starter Phil Hughes gave up three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five.

Red Sox 14, Orioles 6: Boston figures if Victor Martinez is going to hit two homers and drive in six runs, and if Jon Lester is going to throw seven innings of three-hit ball, it might as well happen in a regular-season game. With their powerful battery leading the way, the Red Sox beat Baltimore at Sarasota.

Martinez hit a two-run shot off Orioles starter Jason Berken in the third inning and a grand slam against Jim Johnson in the fourth. In the fifth inning, he hit a drive that was caught at the warning track in center.

"You have one of those days once in a while, when you go out there, see the ball and just put a good swing on it," Martinez said. "Like I always say, when you put a good swing on the ball, anything can happen."

Reserve Kevin Frandsen also hit a grand slam for the Red Sox, who had 17 hits.

Too bad all that offense was wasted in an exhibition game.

"I think we're all ready to get this thing started," Martinez said.

Lester shined in his final spring training start, giving up one run, walking three and striking out three.

Mets 6, Marlins 3: Jason Bay, David Wright and Chris Carter homered off Josh Johnson. Johnson gave up five hits overall in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked none.

Johnson is set to start the opener Monday at Citi Field.

Braves 10, Astros 5: Troy Glaus had three hits and three RBIs to lift his spring training batting average to .413. Brian McCann also drove in three runs for Atlanta.

Derek Lowe was charged with three runs and six hits with two walks in four innings. He struck out three.

Wandy Rodriguez gave up nine runs and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings in his final start of the spring as his ERA ballooned to 12.10.



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