FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins battered Baltimore starter Brian Matusz with their anticipated opening day lineup, beating the Orioles 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Matusz allowed eight of 12 batters at reach base, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks.The left-hander pitched just 1 1/3 innings before throwing more pitches in a bullpen session in an effort to improve his mechanics."It's nice to get this out of the way in spring training," said Matusz, line to start Baltimore's second game of the regular season.Matsuz has a 5.93 ERA this spring. He went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA last season."I just couldn't do it," Matusz said about finding his form. "I went over after that inning and threw on the mound just to get some extra pitches in and see if I could figure it out. And right away, boom, boom, boom, I finally got that angle back."It was just my timing. My timing and my rhythm. I was out there trying to do too much. I've been working a lot on trying to get better mechanics."Twins starter Francisco Liriano, also a left-hander, had mixed results. He struck out nine in three innings, but threw 76 pitches and had three walks. He gave up four hits and one run on Adam Jones' homer."I'd like to go deeper into games," said Liriano, who has a 4.97 ERA.He was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA last season."He was a little bit out there, but he got his work in," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He had a lot of punchouts. At the same time, I would think he would say he was a little disappointed with the way he threw the ball. But the main thing is he's healthy."Gardenhire has had to worry about his players' health all spring. Four of his players have missed significant playing time -- first baseman Justin Morneau (concussion), catcher Joe Mauer (knee surgery), left fielder Delmon Young (turf toe) and right fielder Michael Cuddyer (foot).All finally were in the lineup with the rest of the regulars Wednesday. Mauer started at catcher and went 1 for 3 with three RBIs and a two-run single. Morneau ended his 0-for-13 start to spring training by hitting a double in the seventh inning."Morneau got a big hit," Gardenhire said. "He kept saying, 'One more at-bat, one more at-bat.' I know until he gets a hit he doesn't want to get out."Cuddyer was 1 for 2 with a walk."I feel good enough to go out there and play," Cuddyer said. "It hurts when I run the bases. But it's manageable now. I'm not going to be hindered. Not at all."Gardenhire had center fielder Denard Span leading off, followed by second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Mauer and Morneau. Young hit fifth and went 2 for 3. He was followed by designated hitter Jason Kubel, Cuddyer, third baseman Danny Valencia and shortstop Alexi Casilla.
The Twins reassigned catcher Steve Holm and outfielder Jeff Bailey to minor league camp. After Monday's game, the Twins will reassign left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait and Danny Lehmann. Right-handed pitchers Carlos Gutierrez and Kyle Waldrop, left-handed pitcher Chuck James, catcher Rene Rivera, infielder Chase Lambin and outfielder Brian Dinkelman will travel with the Twins to Atlanta for exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday before being reassigned to the minors. Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who has missed spring training with a health issue, will be replaced on a short-term basis by Phil Roof, a long-time minor league coach and manager for the Twins.