Liriano shines in first spring game

Liriano shines in first spring game

RED SOX (ss) 9, TWINS 3
Fort Myers, Fla.
Saturday, March 6

Twins at the plate: Wilson Ramos drilled an RBI single to put Minnesota on the board in the sixth. Danny Valencia had an RBI single and scored a run.

Red Sox at the plate: Utility infielder Tug Hulett, pinch-hitting for David Ortiz, hammered a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. It was Hulett's first at-bat of the Grapefruit League season. Gil Velazquez had two hits and two RBIs. Center fielder Mike Cameron went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Twins on the mound: Left-hander Francisco Liriano, coming off a tough 2009 season, had an encouraging Grapefruit League debut. Over two innings, Liriano gave up one hit, walked one and struck out three. Twins closer Joe Nathan left with tightness in his surgically repaired right elbow after walking two and striking out one over one-third of an inning. His exit from the game was considered precautionary, and he will undergo further testing on Sunday.

Red Sox on the mound: Free-agent acquisition John Lackey, making his first start in a Boston uniform, retired all six batters he faced, striking out one. Lackey threw 19 pitches, 11 for strikes. Reliever Manny Delcarmen fired a 1-2-3 frame. Lefty Brian Shouse, vying for a spot in the bullpen, gave up one unearned run in one inning.

Worth noting: Top prospect Casey Kelly will get the rare chance to pitch in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla., when he takes the ball in relief for Boston on Sunday afternoon. Kelly fired a shutout inning against Northeastern University on Wednesday, so this will be the first time he has faced Major League competition. ... Twins lefty Glen Perkins, in the running to be the team's fifth starter, gave up three hits and two runs over 1 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out none.

Grapefruit League records: Red Sox 2-2; Twins 1-2.

Up next: The Twins have split-squad action on Sunday, with both games slated for 1:05 p.m. ET. Nick Punto, who underwent minor surgery on his right wrist at the end of January, will make his spring debut at home vs. the Yankees and Scott Baker will start that game. Brian Duensing, another candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, will pitch in Bradenton against the Pirates.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.