Twins can't overcome slow start against Mets
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Mets jumped all over right-hander Ricky Nolasco for seven runs in the first inning en route to a 9-1 victory over the Twins on Friday at Hammond Stadium.
Nolasco, who is set to be Minnesota's Opening Day starter against the White Sox on March 31, easily turned in his worst outing of the spring in his second-to-last Grapefruit League start.
The Mets opened the scoring with a two-run double from Ike Davis with one out in the first inning before Andrew Brown added an RBI double. Zach Lutz followed with an RBI single before scoring on a triple from Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Taylor Teagarden then launched a two-run blast to left field, as Nolasco allowed eight straight batters to reach with one out in the first. It was Teagarden's first homer of the spring.
Nolasco settled down after his rocky first inning, but went just three innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and two walks to see his ERA climb from 3.27 to 7.07.
"I'm right there where I want to be, but obviously in that first inning, I was pretty terrible," Nolasco said. "I think I could've done better if I told them what was coming. So it's just Spring Training, so whatever. I bounced back and threw pretty decent the next two innings."
So while Nolasco struggled, Mets right-hander Dillon Gee was solid, surrendering one run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings with four strikeouts.
The Twins didn't score against Gee until the fourth, when Wilkin Ramirez brought home Joe Mauer with a sacrifice fly after Mauer led off with a single and reached third on a single from Jason Kubel.
It came after the Mets added two more runs in the fourth on a two-run blast from Lucas Duda off reliever Casey Fien. It was the second homer of the spring for Duda. Davis also had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
Up next: Right-hander Kevin Correia is set to make his third Grapefruit League start at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday against the Yankees at Hammond Stadium. The game will air live on MLB.TV. Correia, who has a 6.00 ERA this spring, is currently slotted for the second spot in the rotation behind Opening Day starter Nolasco. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who joined the Yankees on a $155 million contract this offseason, is slated to start for New York in his first appearance at Hammond Stadium.