PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Johan Santana's outing against his former team elicited fond memories if not a positive result.
Santana lasted 3 1-3 innings, allowing nine hits and five runs in the News York Mets' 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
"I had a great time over there, great seasons over there," said Santana, who the Twins traded to New York following the 2007 season. "They always find a way to play the game the right way and find the right guys to fill in."
Santana struck out three and walked one. The perennial Cy Young candidate said he threw lots of change-ups. Though the location was good on most of the pitches, Santana said the ones that missed were hit hard.
"They're a pretty good team," Santana said. "They always find a way to put the ball in play and that's what they were doing. It seemed like they were hitting the ball to the right spot all the time."
Twins third baseman Danny Valencia and catcher Wilson Ramos both hit second-inning home runs off Santana.
"I'm not just going out there and throw," Santana said. "You've got to pitch and get people out for sure. But at the same time, I'm getting all my work in. I felt pretty good. I'm pain free and that's the most important part of spring training for me."
Twins starter Kevin Slowey allowed one run in three innings. Slowey walked two and struck out two while allowing three hits. Mets catcher Omir Santos hit a homer for the lone run surrendered by Slowey.
Slowey said he still is working on the feel for his pitches after coming off of wrist surgery. He hit Jason Bay with a curveball in the third inning.
"Just to have a consistent feel," he said. "Breaking balls today felt better, but still, I mean I hit Jason Bay with a curveball, so obviously it's not consistent enough. I think that will come."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Slowey might have thought too much about some pitches, though he was pleased with the outing.
"He got himself in a little bit of a jam, but he pitched through it and got through it, so he was good," Gardenhire said.
Santana, meanwhile, said he sometimes thinks about what could have been had he stayed in Minnesota.
"But that's not the case now," Santana said. "I'm here and very happy to be here in New York. They built this team to win and we know what we can do. But again we've got to stay on the field. That was the case for us last year. We weren't able to stay on the field."