SARASOTA, Fla. - The Twins took a 3-1 lead against the Orioles in the top of the seventh on Jeff Bailey’s two-out, two-run single off Jason Berken. They had two runners in scoring position because Luke Scott fielded Matt Tolbert’s single to left and tried to cut down Trevor Plouffe at third base. Tolbert raced to second and scored on Bailey’s hit.
Scott tried to atone for his mistake by lining an RBI double into left-center field in the bottom of the seventh. Scott was 2-for-32 with one RBI before coming through in the clutch.
Mark Reynolds reached on an error before Scott batted. Reynolds had struck out twice, raising his total to 13 this spring.
Brian Matusz talked about tonight’s start, when he held the Twins to one run and struck out eight over 4 2/3 innings.
“I felt good out there,” he said. “This last week, working with Rick Adair and Mark Connor a lot, to be honest with you ... I just had a good rhythm today. I had a good rhythm and a good delivery. And that’s the ultimate goal, to get in that rhythm, so you’re ready for the season. Today was the first time out there I really had that this spring and it felt good. It felt really good. I was throwing all my pitches. It’s the best my changeup’s been in a while. I threw a couple good sliders.
“The only play I could think of that I wish I could have back was that bunt (by Luke Hughes). I kind of slipped off the mound, didn’t get a good jump on it. Those are the things you work on (pitchers fielding practice) all the time out there on the other fields, and when it happens in the game, you’ve got to react right away. I had a bad jump, slipped a little bit.”
Asked about seeing results tonight, Matusz said, “It’s huge. It’s confidence. It’s everything. I’m right on track. I’m working hard, I’m trying to get my delivery back toward having a good groove. I don’t believe I walked a guy and that’s important, too. I got to a couple three-ball counts and I was able to just make pitches. And to not give out free passes, it’s huge. I’m finally getting in a groove.
“It felt natural today because everything was working together. I had that good flow, that consistent groove to where I’m not yanking or jerking my body or anything like that. So that’s the ultimate goal, to get in that groove where you feel it on every pitch and it’s consistent. I feel like I made huge strides in these last few days to get there.”