Ramirez, Marlins Beat Twins 3-0 Behind Johnson
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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Hanley Ramirez’s aggressive baserunning ended Carl Pavano’s scoreless innings streak Tuesday and sparked the Florida Marlins to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
In a matchup of opening-day starters, Josh Johnson labored through five innings for Florida but did not allow a run.
In other news, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Scott Baker will be the team’s fifth starter. Kevin Slowey will pitch out of the bullpen.
Ramirez singled with one out in the sixth and advanced to third base on Gaby Sanchez’s groundout to third. He scored when John Buck singled off third baseman Danny Valencia’s glove, the first run given up by Pavano in 18 2-3 innings.
“That’s what I’m going to do in the season, too,” Ramirez said. “That’s how you become a leader. You’ve got to do it by example on the field.”
The Marlins scored two more runs when Greg Dobbs singled, but the second run was unearned because center fielder Aaron Hicks’ errant throw got past the infielders.
The Marlins, plagued by sloppy defense earlier in the spring, played error-free ball for their second straight shutout win.
“That pretty much is what we expect from the team — good pitching, the bullpen was outstanding, we’re manufacturing runs and solid defense,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Up to that point, the game was scoreless. Johnson wasn’t sharp, but he gutted out five scoreless innings for the Marlins.
He walked two batters for the first time this spring and hit a batter with a pitch but scattered four hits.
“Whenever I needed to, I made pitches. That’s the name of the game,” Johnson said.
He was far from economical with his pitches, throwing 53 of 86 for strikes but lasting one inning less than he did in his previous start.
“The pitches got ramped up there pretty quick, I guess. I didn’t realize I threw 86 through five but I’ll take it — zeros,” he said.
Pavano took the loss after allowing two earned runs and seven hits in six innings. He has a 0.95 ERA this spring.
Johnson said he didn’t feel as though he was laboring because Pavano worked efficiently, increasing the pace of the game, which lasted just 2 hours, 17 minutes.
“It means you’re not sitting in the dugout for very long,” Johnson said. “A lot of groundballs, a lot of quick outs. A lot of strikes, too.”
Johnson has a 4.95 ERA this spring, but he will get one more start before pitching the season opener on April 1.
Ramirez, catcher John Buck and second baseman Omar Infante played all nine innings — the first time Ramirez and Infante have done that this spring and the second time for Buck.
Ramirez, batting .348 this spring, is determined to bounce back from what he considers a subpar 2010 season. He finished with a .300 batting average after winning the batting title in 2009 at .342.
Infante went 3 for 4 to raise his batting average to .429. He will start at second base this year after coming to the Marlins in the trade that sent Dan Uggla to Atlanta.
Right-hander Ryan Webb, who came to Florida from San Diego in the Cameron Maybin trade, got the win after allowing just a hit in two scoreless innings.
NOTES: Rodriguez said the team will decide by Sunday if prospect Matt Dominguez will break camp as its third baseman. Dominguez, batting .175, was out with a stomach virus. … Florida RF Mike Stanton (right quadriceps strain) played the field in a minor league game for the first time since Feb. 27. He is set to rejoin the Marlins on Thursday.
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