Hot Pitching and Home Runs Give Twins Win
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — Twins opening day starter Ervin Santana pitched six shutout innings Friday, and Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki homered twice to pace Minnesota's 6-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Santana allowed three hits and struck out eight in his fourth start, leading toward his April 4 opening day assignment against the Baltimore Orioles. Plouffe and Suzuki combined to go 6-for-7 with five RBI's, and Byron Buxton also drove in a run with a third-inning sacrifice fly for the Twins.
Rays starter Drew Smyly allowed five runs and five hits in six innings. Plouffe hit a solo homer off him in the second inning and followed with a two-run shot off the left-hander in the sixth.
Plouffe finished 3 for 4, boosting his spring average to .361 with four homers and 12 RBIs. Suzuki was 3 for 3, including solo homers off Smyly in the fifth and Jhan Marinez in the seventh.