The Twins entered the bottom of the ninth trailing the Reds 6-4 in yesterday's exhibition match-up, but a two-run homer from Randy Ruiz tied the game and another two-run homer from Chris Basak one inning later gave the Twins a victory. Granted, neither of those players are likely to make the Twins' roster out of spring training, nor is the team's pitcher of record (Mariano Gomez, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings), but there were some encouraging signs from players who are indeed in the Twins' plans this year.
Carlos Gomez, who is in a three-way battle for the starting center field job, got the start and batted lead-off. He went 1-for-2 with an RBI double, a walk, and a stolen base. Alexi Casilla, who started at shortstop, also stole a pair of bases. Ron Gardenhire has not been timid about sending those two speedsters when they've reached first base so far this spring; I have to wonder whether this represents a fundamental change in the manager's usually conservative philosophy, or whether he's just letting them fly because it's early spring. Time will tell.
Joe Mauer went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and is hitting .500 this spring. Glen Perkins got the start and pitched two innings, allowing a run on two hits and two walks with no strikeouts. He seems to be struggling a bit. Philip Humber, who was roughed up in an outing against Concordia College about a week ago, tossed a perfect seventh.
Tomorrow afternoon the Twins look to raise their spring winning percentage to .500 as they face off against Tampa Bay, and then on Wednesday they will face the the Yankees in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.