The Red Sox kicked off Grapefruit League play with a one-sided 14-1 victory over the Twins at JetBlue Park on Thursday afternoon.
Jarren Duran set the tone right away, leading off the bottom of the first inning with an infield single. Bobby Dalbec immediately followed suit, taking Twins starter Cole Sands deep to left field for his first home run of the spring.
Dalbec’s two-run blast gave the Sox an early 2-0 lead. Non-roster invitee Ryan Fitzgerald doubled Boston’s advantage later in the inning when he drove in Franchy Cordero and Jeter Downs on a two-run single of his own.
After right-handers Michael Feliz (Thursday’s starter) and Taylor Cole provided a scoreless frame each out of the gate, left-handed pitching prospect Chris Murphy surrendered his side’s first run when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Miguel Sano in the top half of the third.
Andrew Politi came on to get out of the jam Murphy had created by retiring Gary Sanchez, then sat down the side in order an inning later. Zack Kelly, another non-roster invitee, took over for Politi in the fifth and put up another zero. In the latter half of the frame, Downs scored on a double steal before Yolmer Sanchez crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Roldani Baldwin.
Heading into the sixth inning in possession of a 6-1 lead, Red Sox manager Alex Cora handed things over to John Schreiber out of the bullpen. Schreiber worked his way around a two-out walk in the sixth before fanning one in a clean seventh inning of work.
A half-inning later, the Red Sox continued to pad their lead when the power-hitting Tyreque Reed laced a ground-rule, two-run double off Twins reliever Kody Funderburk.
In the eighth, recently-signed righty Tyler Danish kept Minnesota off the scoreboard once more before the Boston bats pushed across six more runs in their half of the inning. Elih Marrero ripped a bases-clearing, three-run double off Melvi Acosta while Reed collected one more RBI and Nick Sogard drove in two of his own.
That sequence put the Red Sox up 14-1, going into the ninth. Geoff Hartlieb closed things out in 1-2-3 fashion to preserve the blowout win in Boston’s Grapefruit League opener.
All told, the Sox tallied 14 runs on 14 hits and are now 1-0 this spring with 18 exhibition games remaining before Opening Day.
Next up: Eovaldi vs. Mazza
The Red Sox return to JetBlue Park on Friday afternoon to take on the Rays. Opening Day starter Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston. He will be opposed by former teammate and fellow right-hander Chris Mazza.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be broadcasted on NESN.
(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Boston Red Sox)