Bauers, Dickerson stay strong vs. Twins

Bauers, Dickerson stay strong vs. Twins

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla -- The Twins' first two hits of the game were home runs, and that was all the offense needed for Minnesota to defeat the Rays, 4-2, at Charlotte Sports Park on Friday.

The Twins got on the board in the top of the second when Jorge Polanco hit a solo shot for his third home run of the spring.

An inning later, Brian Dozier followed that up with a towering blast of his own, a three-run homer that put the Twins up, 4-0. It was the first home run of the spring for Dozier, who led the team with 42 last season.

"He can go up and get them especially, when he's got the count," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Dozier's home run.

The four runs were plenty of support for starter Phil Hughes, who easily turned in his best performance of the spring.

"I was just trying to stay ahead of these guys," Hughes said. "They have a bunch of at-bats and know me pretty well, so we tried to change things up."

Hughes held the Rays scoreless for five innings, allowing two hits while striking out four.

"He's getting extended," Molitor said. "He's already up there with pitch counts. He's on track and he's had no setbacks, so that's all good news."

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez would get the loss as he surrendered Polanco's home run. Ramirez was charged with two more runs after giving up a walk and an error before reliever Diego Moreno gave up Dozier's three-run homer.

"I thought [Ramirez] had some ups and downs," said Rays manager Kevin Cash. "We have to find that consistency where he has a little bit easier time, hitter to hitter."

Tampa Bay got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Rickie Weeks' grounder drove in Mallex Smith. Jake Bauers added a run as he drilled his third home run of the season in the seventh inning, drawing the Rays to within two.

Twins Up Next: The Twins will face their cross-town rivals (MLB.TV), the Boston Red Sox, at Hammond Stadium on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Ryan Vogelsong will get the start as he tries to nail down the final spot in Minnesota's rotation. Matt Belisle and Brandon Kintzler are also scheduled to pitch in relief. Reigning Cy Young Award-winner Rick Porcello will take the hill for Boston.

Rays Up Next: The Rays will travel to Dunedin, Fla. on Saturday to face the Blue Jays (MLB.TV) at 1:07 p.m. ET. Chase Whitley will get the start followed by Austin Pruitt, Ryan Garton, Justin Marks and Jeff Walters.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Mike Nabors is a contributor to and covered the Rays on Friday.

Scott Butherus is a contributor to and covered the Twins on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.