FORT MYERS, FlA. – The Kenta Maeda the Twins have been waiting for arrived on Sunday.
Maeda, acquired last month from the Dodgers, faced 13 Red Sox hitters on Sunday, surrendered singles to two of them, struck out six, and never allowed a runner to advance past first base. Boston eventually rallied for a 7-6 victory at JetBlue Park, but it did nothing to dampen Maeda’s enthusiasm.
“It’s definitely the best [start of his spring], and the fact that I did not give up a home run this time makes it even better.,” Maeda said through translator Daichi Sekizaka. “Everything from the delivery to the pitches itself, everything worked out in synch. It was great overall.”
Short, too. Maeda needed only 46 pitches to record 12 outs — a stark contrast to Boston lefthander Martin Perez, who held his former teammates scoreless for four innings but needed 74 pitches to do it.
“In my last outing, I pitched a lot of pitches. I’m glad I was able to be more efficient today,” Maeda said. “Hopefully in the next outing, I’ll ramp up the innings and the pitch counts and finish strong.”
The Twins bullpen didn’t finish so strong as the Twins lost for the first time since Monday. With the Twins leading 1-0 thanks to a Jake Cave RBI single, Matt Wisler gave up a run on three hits in his inning of work, and Cory Gearrin surrendered four runs on four hits, putting his Grapefruit League ERA at 12.60. Wisler and Gearrin were teammates with Seattle last year.