PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — Allan Dykstra hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 win over a Minnesota split squad Saturday after Twins starter Trevor May pitched four nearly perfect innings.
Four Twins pitchers held the Rays to one hit over the first eight innings, a long home run by Juan Francisco off Mark Hamburger in the fifth. It was Francisco’s second home run of the spring.
The 25-year-old May, a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the Twins’ rotation, shook off the flu to make his second start of the spring and first in 10 days. He struck out three and walked none.
“It was important to get it out of the way. I feel like I just hopped right back in there,” said May, who was 3-6 with a 7.88 ERA as a rookie. “I feel like I got right back in the baseball mode and I was back to where I need to be. I’ve still got time to get up to 100 (pitches) this spring, so it could be worse.”
The only batter to reach base against May was Brandon Guyer, safe on a throwing error by third baseman Eduardo Nunez. Tampa Bay managed only three hits in all.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said May looks “a lot better this spring,” and the bout with the flu would not be a major setback.
“We had him at 60 (pitches) today, but he didn’t get there because he was clean through four,” Molitor said. “He was in command of his pitches. That’s an area that we’re looking for improvement.”
May hopes to follow Ervin Santana, Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco in the rotation.
“Staying on the field is the No. 1 priority,” May said. “I think the best-case scenario would be to make it a very hard decision.”
Kevin Kiermaier led off the Tampa Bay ninth with a double and scored the tying run on a throwing error. Dykstra, a minor leaguer, followed with the homer off A.J. Achter.
Eduardo Nunez and Eduardo Escobar drove in runs for the Twins with singles off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi in the sixth.
Odorizzi gave up two runs and five hits while striking out four in 5 2-3 innings.
“I think this is the first time I went into the sixth inning of a spring training game in my career,” he said, “so it was a good day.”
Neither team had a baserunner in the first three innings.
Twins: Minnesota closer Glen Perkins, coming back from an oblique strain, pitched his first spring inning against the Orioles in Fort Myers.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly, sidelined by shoulder tendinitis, declined to speculate about anything beyond his next bullpen session Monday. “I threw 20 pitches off the mound,” he said. “Probably not 100 percent, but I don’t think anybody’s bullpen is.”
Twins: May needed just 45 pitches to get through four innings. Only 12 were called balls, and at least one fastball registered 93 mph.
Rays: Of the first 17 batters to face Odorizzi, only Escobar reached base — with a fourth-inning single through a gap in the shift.
Twins: Hughes will make his fourth spring start Sunday, against the Marlins in Jupiter.
Rays: LHP Everett Teaford, a 30-year-old candidate for the starting rotation, will get his first spring start in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.
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