FORT MYERS, FLA. – A strong wind toward left-center field had palm trees swaying. And home runs had some of them shaking.
Any fairly well-hit ball was a threat to leave the playing field, and the Twins found the jet stream plenty of times as they walloped the Toronto Blue Jays 14-5 on Sunday at Hammond Stadium. Seven home runs were hit in the game, four by the Twins.
Joe Mauer led the way with a three-run homer that hit a palm tree behind the right-center-field fence in the first and a base-clearing double in the fourth. The No. 3 spot might have been the place to be on Sunday, as Drew Butera hit for Mauer in the fifth — and homered.
Mauer recently spoke of how locked in he is at the plate. All he has to do now is carry his form into the regular season — which shouldn’t be too tough for the three-time batting champion.
“The ball was flying around. It was good,’’ said Mauer, batting .400 this spring. “Got them up in the air and it felt good.’’
Brian Dozier homered in the second inning and Justin Morneau struck a palm tree with his homer in the third, contributing to the Twins’ highest run total this month.
Righthander P.J. Walters, making his first start of spring training after five games as a reliever, gave up three earned runs over three innings on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts. The Twins are stretching him out to start, either on the major league level or Class AAA.
He got a fastball up to Luis Jimenez in the second that became a two-run homer —the first of two on the day for Jimenez.
“I’m a ground ball guy,’’ Walters said. “I get ground balls it doesn’t matter where the flag is blowing.’’
LA VELLE E. NEAL III