Live from Florida, Day 20: Pavano keeps dealing, with help from Nishi
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Tuesday at Minnesota Twins spring training:
Pirates 5, Twins 2
Three starts into spring training, Carl Pavano still hasn't broken much of a sweat.
The right-hander threw four scoreless innings to make it nine straight for the spring -- a stretch in which he's allowed only four hits and one walk with five strikeouts, despite ongoing issues with his pregame and postgame bullpen sessions.
"I was a little erratic coming out of the pen," Pavano said. "I didn't have the best pen. I was dragging a little bit. So, I got a little bit of a second wind and guys made some good plays behind me."
The best was a nifty one-hop pickup by second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who turned Lyle Overbay's hard smash into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the top of the fourth inning.
"He's quick," Pavano said of Nishioka, who singled in the bottom of the fourth to raise his batting average to .294 (5-for-17) after a 1-for-11 start.
"He's got great range back and forth and an accurate arm, so that's always a plus for a second baseman, and ... he's swinging the bat pretty well, so that's nice to see."
• SS Alexi Casilla pulled a double down the right-field line in the bottom of the third for the Twins' first hit -- and his first extra-base hit of the spring.
• The Twins tied the game in the sixth on Luke Hughes' sacrifice fly, which also advanced the go-ahead run to third. 3B Matt Brown drove it in with a two-out double to the left-center field gap.
• RHP Pat Neshek promptly gave away the lead in the seventh, falling behind Overbay 2-0 and then serving up a towering home run to right-center field. The damage could have been worse, but LF Ben Revere bailed out Neshek with a sprawling catch on the warning track.
• The Pirates took the lead for good in the top of the eighth, when RHP Jeff Manship allowed three runs on four hits.
RHP Kevin Slowey was excellent in the morning "B" game, facing the minimum nine batters over three hitless innings and striking out three. He hit one batter but got the next to fly into an inning-ending 9-3 double play.
"He got right after them and went right through it, and that's a good thing," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Shows he's been around a little bit and understands that he needs to get out there and, even if it's a 'B' game, you do your work and prepare. And he did that.
Slowey's father, Pat, was among a few hundred fans watching on the back field at the Lee County Sports Complex.
5: Words of the National Anthem sung before the microphone cut out. After a momentary silence, the crowd finished the anthem together.
86: Top speed hit on the Hammond Stadium radar gun by Neshek, who had allowed no runs and only one hit in three previous spring outings.
7,764: Announced attendance for the Twins' sixth consecutive home sellout of the spring.
• 1B Justin Morneau (concussion) was a late addition to the lineup for the Twins' morning "B" game, playing first base and batting cleanup in his first game action since his injury on July 7. He went 1-for-2 with a three-run double and is slated to play again on Thursday if he feels good.
• LF Delmon Young (toe) also made his spring debut in the "B" game, batting third as the designated hitter. He walked in both of his plate appearances. "I haven't seen that in a long time -- ever, maybe," Gardenhire said of the walks. "There's got to be two, but we thought that was historic." Young fouled one pitch off his left shin but was OK.
• Casilla (ankle) returned to the lineup two days after a minor injury running the bases.
"I hadn't seen that in a while. You've got to be feeling really good if you're going to be wearing that around here."
-- Pavano on Morneau's new handlebar moustache
Left-hander Francisco Liriano is scheduled to make his first formal spring-training start when the Twins hit the road to face the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. in Sarasota, Fla.