Friday, April 2
Cardinals at the plate: After falling behind early by a 2-0 score, the Cardinals roared back with a three-run fourth. Matt Holliday cranked a two-run homer to tie the game, and Colby Rasmus made it back-to-back with a solo shot that gave St. Louis its first lead. In the eighth, the Cards hung another crooked number on the Twins, and Holliday was once again at the heart of it. The outfielder drilled a two-run double to deep right-center that plated two more insurance runs and keyed a five-run outburst.
Twins at the plate: Denard Span had a big game, but the rest of the Twins couldn't get going in the first game in their new ballpark. Span led off the game for Minnesota with a triple and scored, and he added a solo homer in the third. But with a chance to break the game open in the third, the Twins couldn't capitalize. They left the bases loaded after two walks and an error put them in position to add on. Joe Mather added an RBI double and Brock Peterson had a sacrifice fly in the eighth to narrow the gap.Cardinals on the mound: Starter Kyle Lohse couldn't contain Span, but other than that was quite solid. Lohse allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits over five innings. He struck out three, all in the first inning, and walked two in his reunion with his first Major League team. Another former Twin, Dennys Reyes, pitched a perfect sixth, and Fernando Salas didn't allow a run in the seventh. Trever Miller was touched for two runs in the eighth after walking two batters. Twins on the mound: One rough inning was enough to cost starter Carl Pavano. The Twins starter allowed three runs on eight hits over seven innings, striking out five without a walk. Absent the two home runs, he'd have been the winning pitcher, but instead he took the loss. Pat Neshek was roughed up in relief of Pavano, surrendering all five runs in the eighth while only recording one out. Worth noting: Span racked up the firsts, with the first hit, first home run and first run scored. Up next: The same two teams meet again less than 18 hours after the finish of Friday's game. At 1:10 p.m. CT, they'll face off for the second and final time in this preseason mini-series.
For the visiting Cardinals, Jaime Garcia will make his first game appearance since being notified that he had won the competition to be the Cardinals' fifth starter. Garcia was excellent all spring, pitching at least as well as any other Cardinals hurler -- not just the other contenders for the fifth job. following the game, the Cardinals will fly to Cincinnati, where they will work out on Sunday before opening the regular season on Monday.
The Twins counter with Kevin Slowey, who is looking to put the capper on an excellent spring. Slowey has showed he's plenty healthy, not to mention effective, by pitching 21 innings with a 1.71 ERA. He has 17 strikeouts against three walks on the spring. Following the game, the Twins head west to start a season-opening road trip. They'll kick off the campaign with a Monday night game in Anaheim.
As part of the pregame festivities on Saturday, the Twins will unveil a bronze statue of franchise great Harmon Killebrew at Target Plaza.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.