Hideki Okajima gave up four runs in the the fifth inning, including a bases-clearing triple to Joe Benson, and the Boston Red Sox were defeated by the Minnesota Twins, 8-5, in their first official Spring Training game of the 2011 campaign in Lee County, Florida on Sunday night.
Okajima (1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 K) was not credited with the loss, though, as Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) gave up an unearned run in the first inning and was credited with the loss.
Clay Buchholz relieved Beckett and tossed two scoreless innings, striking out one, before leaving the game in favor of Okajima. Dan Wheeler gave up two hits and one earned run in the sixth inning, Scott Atchison tossed a scoreless seventh inning and Brandon Duckworth allowed three hits and two earned runs in the eighth inning for Boston (0-1).
Twins starter Carl Pavano (1-0) tossed two scoreless innings to earn the win, allowing one hit and striking out two. Pat Neshek, Dusty Hughes and Alex Burnett were all pitched scoreless innings and were credited with holds for Minnesota (1-0).
Red Sox regulars Kevin Youkilis (1-for-3), David Ortiz (0-for-3), Jed Lowrie (0-for-3), Mike Cameron (1-for-3) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (0-for-2) all saw limited playing time in the loss.
Minnesota’s Jason Repko tripled off of Beckett in the first inning, plating Chris Parmlee and giving the Twins an early 1-0 lead. Neither team would score again until the fifth inning, when Benson cleared the bases with his triple and Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled to right, allowing Benson to score. Jeff Bailey homered in the sixth inning, building the Twins’ lead to 6-0.
Lars Anderson (1-for-3) hit a solo home run to right center to give Boston its first run in the top of the eighth. With one out in the inning, Oscar Tejeda (1-for-1) singled on a fly ball to center, plating Daniel Nava (1-for-2) and trimming the Red Sox deficit to 6-2. Tejeda advanced to third on the play via shortstop Chase Lambin’s throwing error.
Still with one out in the eighth, pinch hitter Josh Reddick (1-for-1) singled to center, allowing Tejeda to score and bringing Boston within three runs.
The Twins got two runs back in the bottom half of the inning on a Matthew Brown sacrifice fly that plated Luke Hughes and Lambin’s RBI-single to right.
Mark Wagner hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth to bring Boston within four, 8-4, but the Red Sox were unable to get any closer.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is on the mound for Boston on Monday afternoon when it hosts the Twins at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Florida at 1:05 p.m. EST.