BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – Casey Sadler’s strong start to spring training ended when the Minnesota Twins got to him for four runs and five hits in 2 1-3 innings Friday in an 8-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sadler had pitched five hitless, scoreless innings before Danny Santana doubled leading off the game, and Santana scored when second baseman Neil Walker threw wide of first on Jordan Schafer’s grounder for an error. One out later, Kennys Vargas sent a low sinker over the wall in left-center for a 3-0 lead.
Vargas was 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs.
Twins starter Ervin Santana allowed two hits in two scoreless innings, walked two and struck out two.
Schafer’s walk and singles by Vargas and Kurt Suzuki chased Sadler in the third, and Oswaldo Arcia singled off Wilfredo Boscan for a 4-0 lead. Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario capped a three-run fifth with a two-run homer off Jared Hughes.
Steve Lombardozzi scored on a wild pitch in the sixth by Logan Darnell, who allowed Tony Sanchez’s RBI double and Gorkys Hernandez’s run-scoring single.
Sadler has a chance to earn a job in the Pirates’ rotation following season-ending elbow ligament-replacement surgery to Brandon Cumpton.
“I feel bad for Cump,” Sadler said. “He’s one of my good friends. I wish him all of the best. If that opportunity comes, I’m going to try to do him proud and do the Pirates proud.”
Pirates: Sadler said his early struggles stemmed from repeatedly leaving pitches up. “My ball is really effective when it’s at the knees and down. A lot of sinkerballers will tell you the same thing: As soon as the ball gets above the knees, it flattens out.”
Twins: Santana escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the second inning by striking out Sean Rodriguez on a full-count fastball. He has allowed four hits and two walks in four scoreless innings.
Pirates: Center fielder Andrew McCutchen was removed from the lineup an hour before first pitch due to lower-body soreness. The injury is not expected to be a significant one. McCutchen walked through the clubhouse with no noticeable discomfort.
Pirates: Right-hander Gerrit Cole is expected to start for the Pirates against Boston in Fort Myers. Cole has struck out five and walked three in five innings.
Twins: Ricky Nolasco is to start Saturday against St. Louis in Jupiter. Nolasco allowed one run in two innings against the Pirates on Monday.
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