Salty's blast backs Doubront's strong outing

Salty's blast backs Doubront's strong outing

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was having a strong spring before he hit his first home run on Friday night in a 5-0 win over the Twins at JetBlue Park.

Saltalamacchia, who hit a career-high 25 home runs a season ago, went deep to right field with Dustin Pedroia on first base and one out in the fourth inning. That came off Twins starter Liam Hendriks.

"To Salty, it was a fastball, a sinker that kind of stayed up," said Hendriks, who struck out two and walked none. "It was a little bit up and a little bit down the middle. If I get it away another couple of inches, he misses it like he had the first couple of times. The fastball command was great, just the one pitch to him."

Hendriks threw 70 pitches, 50 for strikes.

The Sox have won four of five meetings with the crosstown Twins so far, meaning Boston is guaranteed at least a tie in the 2013 Mayor's Cup series.

Sox left-hander Felix Doubront didn't feel perfectly in tune to start the game and walked the first batter, Aaron Hicks. A pair of groundouts with a strikeout sandwiched between them got Doubront out of the jam. Efficiency is his focus.

"We talk about that, less pitches per batter," he said. "This year, with more experience, I just want to go after it."

Doubront worked around bases-empty doubles in the second and third innings, too. He finished with four strikeouts and one walk on 68 pitches, 42 for strikes.

Some notable Red Sox prospects were on hand: Deven Marrero, the 2012 first-round Draft pick, was the last-minute starter at shortstop after Pedro Ciriaco was scratched due to back spasms.

Marrero went 2-for-3 against the Twins. Earlier in the day, in Sarasota, he went 0-for-2 in a 3-3, 10-inning tie against the Orioles.

Hicks went 1-for-3 with one of the doubles for Minnesota while Oswaldo Arcia went 0-for-3. Both are in MLB.com's top 100 prospects list. Joe Benson went 0-for-4 at DH.

Up next: Boston's other split squad will take on the Twins in Ft. Myers at 7:05 ET tonight before the Red Sox hit the road to take on the Rays in Port Charlotte at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday afternoon (listen on Gameday Audio). Alfredo Aceves will make his first pitching appearance on Saturday since returning from his stint with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Also scheduled to see time on the mound are right-handers Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard, as well as lefty Andrew Miller.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.