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Final: Red Sox 9, Twins 7

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 30, 2012 01:02 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. We're about to get underway at Hammond Stadium where it's Daniel Bard Steel Cage Death Match Day.

OK, it's really not. But he probably would help himself by pitching well.

Hang out for updates as it's another beautiful sunny day in Florida. Been coming down here for spring training for 12 years or so. There has never been a better spring than this. There's a jacket in the rental car that has never been worn.

First pitch is a few minutes away.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Twins coming up: Ellsbury had a bloop single. But Pedroia struck out swinging and Ortiz grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Top of the 2nd: Twins 1, Red Sox 0: Bard handled Span (4-3) and Dozier (F-7) on eight pitches. Then he walked Mauer on four straight, none of them close. Morneau went 1-1 then hit a foul ball down the line in right that was probably 450 feet. Just strike two. Bard missed in the dirt then left a fastball up that Morneau pounded to left for an RBI double.

Willingham was next and he fouled out to first.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Youkilis flied to center. Salty walked and then Ross launched a deep homer to left. That's No. 5 for him. Sweeney struck out before Aviles singled, the ball deflecting off Blackburn. He was thrown out stealing by about four feet.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Strong inning for Bard. He struck out Burroughs and Plouffe looking at sliders. In between, Hughes grounded to third and Youk made a nice play.

Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Twins 1Pedroia walked with two outs and went to third on a single by Ortiz to right field that deflected off the first baseman. Youk had a chance to drive in a run but grounded into a force.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Hollimon flied to left. Bard then fanned Span and Dozier then struck out swinging.

Bard is at 46 pitches, 28 strikes.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Salty and Ross flied out. Sweeney singled up the middle. Aviles then grounded into a force.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Mauer singled. Morneau fouled out to Salty, Willingham lined to short (sweet play by Aviles on the dive) and Burroughs struck out looking at a nasty slider.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: The Sox went in order. Ellsbury fouled a ball off his right leg and stayed in to strike out. But he did not go out to center field. Jason Repko replaced him.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Somebody save Alfredo Aceves a comfortable seat in the bullpen. He's going to need it.

Since allowing an RBI double by Morneau in the 1st inning, Bard has retired 13 of the 14 batters he has faced, seven by strikeout. He fanned Hughes with a 96-mph heater, got Plouffe to ground out then fanned Hollimon looking.

He has had dominant stuff this game.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Twins 3: Rough inning for Bard. Spann walked on four pitches and took second when Bard threw away a pickoff throw. Dozier flied to center. Mauer then ripped a 2-2 pitch up the middle for an RBI single. Morneau popped to short. Burroughs dropped a flare into shallow left field on the line for an RBI single.

Hughes went to 3-2 and popped up. Bard has thrown 95 pitches and is surely done for the day.

His line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 5, Twins 3: Punto singled and Ciriaco ran for him. Ciriaco stole second Repko bunted him along (Valentine loves bunting Repko) ajd Ciriaco kept coming and scored.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 8, Twins 5 Just spoke to Daniel Bard, who was very pleased with his outing.

He said he hasn't been told whether he's in the rotation or not. But he was told he would stay behind and pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday if he was.

Game over: Red Sox 9, Twins 7: Sorry for the lack of recent updates. Had to conduct some interviews in the clubhouse.

Big Mauro Gomes belted a two-run homer for the Sox in the eighth inning. Albers allowed two runs as did Melancon. Melancon gave up a bunch of bleeders and was hampered by a double-play grounder that Ryan Dent booted.

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