Kenta Maeda strutted his stuff on the mound in Minnesota’s 7-6 loss to Atlanta on Friday, a game which was played in honor of Twins bench coach Mike Bell who passed earlier in the day at the age of 46 after a bout with kidney cancer.
Maeda handed off to J.A. Happ after pitching four full innings. The club’s Opening Day starter allowed just three hits, no runs and collected four Ks.
Happ wasn’t nearly as successful, surrendering 10 hits and six runs in 3.2 innings of action.
Minnesota initiated the scoring by way of Kyle Garlick, who smashed his fifth homer this spring to left field in the bottom-half of the third inning.
Willians Astudillo followed with a home run of his own in the fourth and Miguel Sanó, who had slumped at the plate for most of spring training, proceeded to crush one 458-feet over the fence in left-center in the fifth.
Twins’ players Jose Miranda and David Banuelos each added homers in the eighth. But the Braves proved to be too much to overcome on a somber evening.
Minnesota returns to action Saturday for a 12 p.m. tilt versus Tampa Bay. The game will be televised by FOX Sports North.