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B Game Final: Twins 6, Red Sox 5

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 1, 2012 01:05 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — In what may be an internet first, I'm going to live-blog a spring training "B" game. There are dozens of fans on hand here at Hammond Stadium.

Hang out for updates, but keep in mind we sometimes head down to the clubhouse during games when the pitchers come out.

Middle of the 1st, Red Sox 1, Twins 0:There are no umpires, so Twins coach Steve Liddle is behind the plate. Iglesias ripped the first pitch up the middle. Lin then grounded into a double play. Lavarnway crushed a pitch over the fence in left. Kroeger grounded to second.

Top of the 2nd, Red Sox 1, Twins 1: Rough inning for Aceves, who threw 26 pitches (17 for strikes). Revere singled and went to third on a one-out double by Tosoni. Benson hit a ball slowly down the third-base line. As Revere scored, Middlebrooks threw to second and caught Tosoni too far off the bag.

Benson stole second before Dinkelman struck out swinging.

We can also report that Tommy the Groundskeeper is the second umpire. Seriously.

Middle of the the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 1: Nick Blackburn took over for Scott Baker. Middlebrooks singled but was thrown out stealing second. Anderson flied to left and Linares (who turned up in the lineup) struck out.

Top of the 3rd, Twins 2, Red Sox 1: Aceves has a 9.00 ERA this spring and so does Bard. The Red Sox are ruined.

Bates struck out. Dozier then doubled to left and advanced on a passed ball. Towles dropped a little flare into center to drive in the run. Florimon grounded into a force at second. He then stole second. Revere grounded to first to end the inning. Bard threw 25 pitches in that inning, 15 strikes.

Middle of the 3rd: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: The real umpires showed up. Round of applause for Tommy the Groundskeeper, everybody.

Tejeda lined to shortstop facing Jeff Manship. Hassan showed that Milton pride with a single up the middle. But Iglesias grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Top of the 4th, Twins 2, Red Sox 1: 1-2-3 inning for Mortensen.

Middle of the 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: Facing RHP Liam Hendricks, the Sox went in order. Lin flied to left, Lavarnway grounded to second and Kroeger flied deep to the gap in right.

Carlson now pitching for the Sox. Keep an eye on this guy. He was pretty solid for the Jays before missing last season with a rotator cuff tear.

Top of the 5th, Twins 4, Red Sox 1: Like I said keep an eye on Carlson ... when he's driving to Pawtucket. Dinkelman singled and Bates homered off the scoreboard in left center. Dozier then sigled before Carlson got a double play grounder and struck out Florimon.

Middle of the 5th, Twins 4, Red Sox 2: Facing Jeff Bulger. Middlebrooks walked and went to third on a double by Anderson. Linares' sac fly scored the run. Tejeda struck out and Hassan grounded back to the pitcher.

Top of the 6th: Twins 6, Red Sox 2: Tony Pena Jr. allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. Dinkelman had a two-run double.

Updates from the clubhouse: Via Nick Cafardo, here's a report from the clubhouse:

Aceves threw 26 pitches, 17 for strikes, in allowing one run and two hits in his one inning. He was followed by Bard, who also pitched an inning and threw 25 pitches with 15 strikes and also allowed one run on two hits.

Rookie catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who hit a home run in his first at-bat against veteran righty Scott Baker, a towering shot to left field, caught both pitchers.

“Aceves and I were working on a new sign system and we pretty much stayed on the same page,” Lavarnway said. “He threw the ball well. His curveball had good angle on it, his fastball had good life. Bard didn’t have as good of a control of his two-seamer as he would have liked but good action on his four -seamer. He threw a couple of good sliders. He wanted to throw a changeup to a righty and one to a lefty. The one to the righty got hit and the one to the lefty froze him.”

Lavarnway said about his homer, “It felt good. A little nervous it’s gonna be downhill from there. Good to get the first two at-bats out of the way. Just happened to throw it in my happy zone.”

Bard was working with a windup for the first time in years. He always worked from the stretch as a reliever.

“It’s good to get the good first one out of the way and feel the nerves with hitters in the box,” Bard said. “Felt I made some good pitches and tried some things I wouldn’t normally try in a game setting. My changeup wound up getting hit for a double but it’s time to work on stuff.”

Bard thinks the next big hump to get over is the first time he goes three innings.

“I haven’t got three innings for a long time so that first time going out there is going to be a little bit different. Not really thinking that far ahead just thinking one outing at a time,” Bard said.

Concerning the windup he said, “Been doing it on my sides since the start of working out so I’m not even thinking about it – it’s second nature now."

Bard said he’s really not thinking too far ahead. His velocity was decent and he struck out a batter with a high hard fastball.

Aceves is vying for the fifth spot. The organization seems divided on whether he’s best suited to stay in the bullpen. Aceves, however, reiterated, “My personal opinion is I’d rather start. I like to eat innings.”

Middle of the 6th, Twins 6, Red Sox 4: The Sox roughed up Carlos Gutierrez as Nate Spears ripped a two-run triple. But when Anderson walked, the inning was stopped. Damn B game rules. The Sox had runners on first and third at the time.

Top of the 7th, Twins 6, Red Sox 4: Alex Wilson walked two and got two outs before the inning was ended. The Sox have only nine pitchers, so nobody is coming in out of the bullpen.

Middle of the 7th, Twins 6, Red Sox 5: Dan Butler homered for the Red Sox. Now Drake Britton on to pitch.

Butler, the former college walk-on who signed for $10,000 out of the Cape Cod League, is quite a story. The guy can hit and he has some power.

Top of the 8th, Twins 6, Red Sox 5: Britton worked a scoreless inning.

Middle of the 8th: Twins 6, Red Sox 5: Somebody pitched for the Twins, I have no idea who. The Red Sox did not score.

Top of the 9th, Twins 6, Red Sox 5: Will Inman was the Outman in that inning (get it?) as he didn't allow any runs. The Red Sox have their last ups now. I would imagine that they'll play the bottom of the ninth to give Justin Thomas a chance to pitch. That's the whole point of thee B games. There are now roughly 50 people here.

Middle of the 9th, Twins 6, Red Sox 5: Lars Anderson drew a walk but that was it. They will play the bottom of the ninth. If anybody is actually reading this, you have my undying thanks.

Game over, Twins 6, Red Sox 5: In a game that didn't count, the Red Sox lose to the Twins. Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves gave up a run each. Ryan Lavarnway and Dan Butler homered for the Sox. Nate Spears added a two-run double.


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