Santana blanks Red Sox for five innings in spring finale

Twins prospect Graham allows six runs in sixth

Santana blanks Red Sox for five innings in spring finale

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins starter Ervin Santana capped off his impressive Grapefruit League season with five scoreless innings of one-hit ball against Boston's likely Opening Day lineup Thursday night, but the Red Sox erupted for seven runs in the sixth in an 8-5 victory before 7,259 fans at Hammond Stadium.

Santana, whose fastball sat in the 91- to 92-mph range and topped out at 94, struck out two and walked one in a 65-pitch performance.

A one-out single by Pablo Sandoval in the fifth was the lone hit allowed by the Minnesota right-hander, who will make his first start of the season Wednesday in Detroit.

"Ervin was pretty impressive tonight against a pretty good lineup," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "They're a good fastball-hitting team and he was able to use all his pitches effectively."

D. Santana's sac fly

Danny Santana's sacrifice fly in the third scored Kurt Suzuki, who had led off with an infield single off Boston starter Rick Porcello, to give the Twins an early 1-0 lead.

Suzuki's tally was the only run surrendered by Porcello, who allowed five hits, struck out three and walked none in a four-inning tuneup before his scheduled start in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

"I think the most important thing is the arm and body feel really good, so I'm definitely on the right track," said Porcello after his outing. "It's definitely one of those things where it never really ends throughout the course of the season. There's always maintenance and tweaking to be done, but I feel good about the foundation being built this spring and I'm ready to go."

The Red Sox greeted Twins reliever J.R. Graham with five consecutive hits to open the sixth -- including back-to-back RBI doubles by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz -- and Mike Napoli hammered a 96-mph Nick Burdi fastball deep into the night for his fifth spring homer in a seven-run outburst.

Walker's solo home run

Boston's Luke Montz lined a home off Minnesota reliever Brian Duensing to lead off the eighth, and Adam Brett Walker II responded with a solo shot of his own off Boston's Matt Barnes in the bottom of the frame.

Josmil Pinto, who was battling for the Twins' backup catcher role, went 0-for-2 and was optioned to Triple-A after the game. Chris Herrmann will be the backup to start the season.

Up next: The Red Sox and Twins will meet for the third time in as many days Friday at JetBlue Park in a 6:05 p.m. CT matchup on MLB.TV. Minnesota will turn to veteran right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who plans to limit his pitch count to 45 as he prepares to face the Tigers in Detroit next Thursday.

Michael Kolligian is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.