Milone, Leake shine with scoreless starts

Milone, Leake shine with scoreless starts

JUPITER, Fla. -- Making his second start of the spring on Monday, Mike Leake showed why the Cardinals signed him in the offseason by striking out six Minnesota batters in four scoreless innings. His counterpart, Tommy Milone, nearly went pitch-for-pitch with Leake as the Twins won, 5-3, at Roger Dean Stadium.

"That's all deception," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said about Leake's strikeouts. "That's all the ability to go ahead and start the ball off the plate and bring it on, or start the ball on the plate and run it off. I mean, that's just being a little different. He's got good, live stuff."

Milone bolstered his bid to break camp as a member of Minnesota's rotation by matching Leake's four scoreless frames and allowing only one hit.

"It would have been nice to get out of there clean, but just hung a changeup there, and I guess he was waiting for it," Milone said of the lone hit he allowed, a double to Matt Holliday.

Yadier Molina made his third Grapefruit League start, but he once again didn't swing the bat in his only at-bat. Molina, who is recovering from two offseason thumb surgeries, left the game for a pinch-hitter in the fifth.

Max Kepler's two-out single to center in the top of the seventh drove home Darin Mastroianni, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Kepler's RBI single

The Twins touched up Leake's replacement, Seth Maness, for two runs in the fifth, the second run scoring when Jorge Polanco's hot shot to first took a bad hop, forcing first baseman Holliday to defensively knock the ball down. Eduardo Escobar scored as the Cardinals retrieved the ball. Polanco finished the day 3-for-5.

Polanco's run-scoring single

Holliday helped the Cardinals get that run back when his sacrifice fly in the sixth drove in Jacob Wilson, tying the game at 2.

St. Louis scored its first run in bottom of the fifth inning when Greg Garcia's line drive to left drove in Anthony Garcia, who had previously doubled.

G. Garcia's RBI single

Up next for the Twins: The Twins have an off-day Tuesday and will return to the diamond Wednesday, when they host the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. at 6:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-0, 4.50 ERA this spring) will be on the mound for Minnesota. Clay Buchholz is the scheduled starter for the Red Sox. The game will be shown on MLB.TV.

Up next for the Cardinals: The Cardinals are also off on Tuesday, returning to game action on Wednesday to face Atlanta. Against the Braves, Jaime Garcia will make his third start of the spring. That game will also be the first time Cardinals pitchers hit this spring.

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