FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- With their manager and key players in
Minneapolis for a ceremony honoring Kirby Puckett, the Minnesota
Twins won their fourth straight game Sunday, beating the Boston Red
The death last Monday of the Hall of Fame outfielder at age 45
may have helped the Twins put baseball's importance in perspective.
"This is kind of a weird thing, but maybe that's one of the
reasons why we've settled down and played some solid ball because
guys aren't pressing," said bench coach Steve Liddle, who filled
in for manager Ron Gardenhire. "I think that guys took a look back
at what's really important and when you lose someone like Kirby, if
you don't step back and look at what's really important in life,
then you've got something wrong with you. That can help you ease up
Puckett died a day after having a stroke. Among the players who
went to Minneapolis for Sunday night's event at the Metrodome were
outfielders Torii Hunter, Shannon Stewart and Rondell White,
pitcher Brad Radke and catcher Joe Mauer.
The Twins had 11 hits Sunday after a 20-hit effort in a 14-3 win
over Detroit on Saturday in which Radke was the starting and
"A lot of times when you get 20 something hits, the next day
you go out and get four or five," Liddle said, "but the guys have
really been doing a good job with the situational hitting.'
Jon Papelbon (0-2) retired the Twins in order in the first two
innings then gave up three runs in the third and two in the fourth.
In three starts, he's allowed seven runs and 10 hits in eight
"My next outing I'm going to be more worried about my
results," said Papelbon, outstanding as a rookie last year in
pitching 17 games.
His goal Sunday was to build up his arm and refine his control
by throwing a lot of fastballs near the plate. He said his strength
is fine now and he had enough energy to stay in the game beyond 3
He threw only two curveballs and a few split-finger fastballs
but plans to mix up his pitches more in his next game.
His last curveball of the day resulted in Michael Cuddyer's
leadoff homer in the fourth inning that gave Minnesota a 4-0 lead.
Papelbon was replaced by Franklin Nunez after allowing Nick Punto's
one-out single. Punto then stole second, took third on a flyout and
scored on a wild pitch.
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the second on Kevin Youkilis' first
homer of spring training, a two-run shot off Scott Baker (1-0)
after a leadoff single by Manny Ramirez.
^Notes:@ David Wells will pitch in his first game of spring training
March 16 against Red Sox minor league hitters, manager Terry
Francona said. The left-hander is coming back from knee surgery.