03/31/07 3:33 PM ET
Mauer lifts Twins to win in finale
Catcher has three RBIs in return to the lineup
By Dawn Klemish / MLB.com
at Fort Myers, Fla.
Saturday, March 31
Twins at the plate: Joe Mauer came up big in his first game back in a week, driving a bases-clearing double to the left-field wall to tie the game in the third inning. Jason Bartlett added an RBI single an inning later. Brock Peterson hit his first home run of the spring.
Pirates at the plate: Adam LaRoche and Ronny Paulino had back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning to put Pittsburgh up, 2-0. LaRoche added another double in the next inning, and Paulino again followed suit with a double to earn his team-leading 17th RBI. Jack Wilson had a run-scoring single in the fourth.
Twins on the mound: Sidney Ponson was hit often, but managed to escape the outing with just four runs (three earned). Four of the right-hander's 10 hits allowed went for extra bases. Juan Rincon relieved Ponson and threw a perfect sixth, notching two strikeouts along the way.
Pirates on the mound: Paul Maholm pitched two perfect innings before allowing two hits, walking the bases loaded and surrendering a three-run double in the third. He finished with a no-decision after allowing four earned runs, two walks and six hits. Justin Vaclavik gave up a home run but had no other damage in the sixth inning.
Grapefruit League records: Pirates 12-17-3; Twins 14-17-1.
Up next: Pittsburgh has a day off Sunday before opening its season at Houston. Left-hander Zach Duke will get the ball for the Pirates, and he'll face Astros righty Roy Oswalt. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday.
Minnesota's season opener at the Metrodome on Monday will be a battle of the lefties. Twins ace Johan Santana will take the mound for the 6:05 p.m. CT matchup, where he'll face Baltimore's Erik Bedard.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.