Blackburn solid as Mauer collects pair of hits

Blackburn solid as Mauer collects pair of hits

Blackburn solid as Mauer collects pair of hits
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Cody Ross hit a pair of two-run homers to lead the Red Sox to a 9-7 win over the Twins on Friday at Hammond Stadium.

Ross crushed a two-run homer off right-hander Nick Blackburn in the second inning before hitting another two-run shot in the sixth against right-hander Jeff Gray. Ross now leads Boston with six homers this spring.

Red Sox right-hander Daniel Bard, making the transition from reliever to starter, allowed three runs on four hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out seven.

The Twins got on the board in the first inning, when Justin Morneau scored Joe Mauer with an RBI double to left field.

Minnesota scored two more runs in the sixth, as Mauer picked up an RBI single and later scored on a single from Sean Burroughs. Mauer went 2-for-2 with a walk to raise his batting average to .367 this spring.

Blackburn tossed five frames for the Twins and surrendered two runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

"To go out and only give up two runs after the way I felt early is pretty nice," Blackburn said. "To have the confidence to go out there and know that I can locate and get guys out, and get that action on my pitches, is good. It's been a positive spring for me."

Up next: Right-hander Anthony Swarzak is set to make his second Grapefruit League start on Saturday against the Pirates at Hammond Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT on Gameday Audio. Swarzak, who has a 3.86 ERA this spring, is being stretched out in case Scott Baker and Jason Marquis aren't ready to start the season. Right-hander Kevin Correia starts for Pittsburgh.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.