Escobar's grand slam caps Twins' four-homer barrage

Minnesota hits for homer cycle against Baltimore to back Hughes' strong start

Escobar's grand slam caps Twins' four-homer barrage

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Trevor Plouffe, Eduardo Nunez, Kennys Vargas and Eduardo Escobar each homered to lead the Twins to a 10-9 win over the Orioles on Tuesday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.

Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes also tossed four strong innings, but he served up a solo shot to first baseman Chris Davis in the first inning. It was one of five homers in the game, as Plouffe also connected on a solo blast in the second, Nunez hit a two-run homer in the fourth, Vargas crushed a three-run shot in the fifth and Escobar capped it with a grand slam in the sixth.


Wieters returns: Matt Wieters made his debut behind the plate in Grapefruit League play. The Orioles catcher, who is nine months removed from Tommy John surgery, did not have to deal with any steal attempts and went 0-for-3 at the plate.

Wieters' first fielding chance

Plouffe starting to click: Plouffe entered Tuesday's game hitting just .111, but he doubled in his previous game and crushed a solo shot off Norris in the second inning. It was Plouffe's first homer of the spring and cleared the sitting area beyond the left-field fence.

Plouffe's long solo home run

Flaherty hit: Ryan Flaherty was hit by a pitch off his batting helmet and immediately exited the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Flaherty was plunked by lefty Brian Duensing's first pitch of the at-bat, and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells immediately came out to the field. Flaherty was able to walk off without assistance and was replaced by Jayson Nix.

Flaherty plunked in the helmet

Twins offense is rolling: The Twins had scored at least six runs in each of their previous four games and kept it going against the Orioles with the help of the long balls from Plouffe, Nunez, Vargas and Escobar.

Nunez's two-run dinger

"The guys have been swinging the bats well," Hughes said. "They have been facing some good pitchers, and they have been putting some good swings on it. So it's always a good thing to get that momentum and hopefully carry it into the season."


"We're not far away. I'm working on pitches, and that to me is what I'm trying to see. When I'm getting nods back from [Wieters] behind the plate saying, 'Hey that's a good pitch,' that's what we're looking for, that's the result I want to see." -- Bud Norris, on returning to in-season form.


Jimmy Paredes continued his red-hot spring, with a two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning and a ninth-inning single. Paredes is now 11-for-23 with a homer and nine RBIs.

Nunez, who is competing for a spot on Minnesota's bench as a super-utility player, helped his cause with his two-run homer. He went 3-for-4 at the plate to raise his average to .375 in six games this spring. Escobar, who is still competing for the starting shortstop job with Danny Santana, also continued his hot spring by going 2-for-4 with four RBIs coming on his grand slam.


Davis' first-inning home run is the first homer hit by an Oriole at home on St. Patrick's Day since the team moved to Sarasota in 2010. He has homered in back-to-back games.

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier went 3-for-4 with two doubles and is now hitting .556 this spring in six Grapefruit League games.


The Twins have their first split-squad action of the spring on Wednesday, as they host the Orioles at Hammond Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT and also travel up the street in Fort Myers to play the Red Sox at JetBlue Park at 12:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Ervin Santana is set to start against Baltimore, while right-hander Mike Pelfrey is slated to start vs. Boston.

Other relievers set to see action against the Orioles include Casey Fien, Caleb Thielbar and Stephen Pryor, while J.R. Graham, Michael Tonkin and Aaron Thompson are expected to pitch against the Red Sox. Baltimore will send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.