FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Rick Porcello gave up a run over two innings in his first start after the worst season of his career, and the Boston Red Sox held off the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Thursday night.
Twins leadoff batter Brian Dozier went 3 for 3 - all opposite-field hits - with two doubles. Minnesota starter Tyler Duffey gave up a single and got four outs before reaching his pitch count.
South Korean slugger Byung Ho Park had an RBI single for the Twins after striking all three times a day earlier. Danny Santana hit a two-run homer.
Travis Shaw was 2 for 2 with a walk for the Red Sox.
Porcello agreed to an $82.5 million, four-year contract on opening day last season, a deal that runs from 2016-19. He started 4-9 with a 6.08 ERA in his first season with Boston before finishing 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA. The right-hander had a 3.14 ERA in his final eight starts.
“Carrying it over from last year is something - I would love to walk in here and start darting the ball down in the zone, but it doesn’t happen like that,” Porcello said. “You have to take some small steps at first.”
Porcello gave up a few hard-hit balls, including doubles by Dozier and Miguel Sano.
Pat Light earned the victory, and William Cuevas picked up a save by getting out of bases-loaded jam. Taylor Rogers took the loss.
Red Sox: RHP Koji Uehara threw off a mound for the first time since breaking his right wrist last August, ending his season. He pitched to minor leaguers at the club’s complex.
Red Sox: Porcello, who relies mainly on his sinker, worked primarily on spotting his fastball. “I was trying to establish the sinker in the zone,” he said. “The next start is to continue to work on getting the ball down.”
Twins: The 25-year-old Duffey pitched in his first career Grapefruit League game. Manager Paul Molitor said recently it would take “something fairly significant” to get the right-hander out of the rotation. Duffey was 5-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts late last season. “I’ve heard that, yes,” Duffey said Thursday. “I don’t know if I would call that a confidence boost. I still have to go out and pitch regardless of what anyone says. I’ve got to go out and pitch well.”
Sano played the outfield for the first time, starting in right. Molitor doesn’t consider it automatic that Sano will begin the season in the outfield.
“It’s not a slam dunk. We all know that,” the manager said. “He’s got good baseball instincts. He’s surprisingly athletic if you just look at his frame.”
Torii Hunter threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches. He retired in November even though his longtime friend, Red Sox star David Ortiz, tried to persuade him to play one more season.
“He tried to convince me to go one more year and go out with him,” Hunter said Saturday. “I had to. My family needed me. It was time.”
Rod Carew delivered balls to Hunter and retired Twins radio voice John Gordon.
Carew suffered a massive heart attack five months ago. The team honored him with T-shirts that read “Heart of 29” and put a sign up that read that in center field this week.
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly is scheduled to face Rays RHP Chris Archer on Friday.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone pitches against Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano on Friday.
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