Matt Belisle and Josh Fogg combine for 4 shutout innings and Reds beat Twins 6-1

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP)—The Reds’ new-look pitching staff got off to a nice start on Thursday.

Matt Belisle and Josh Fogg combined to pitch four scoreless innings and the Reds beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1.

Belisle, penciled in to the starting rotation, allowed three hits. Fogg, a free agent signee who helped the Colorado Rockies get to the World Series last season, struck out two and allowed one hit.

Francisco Cordero, Mike Stanton and Mike Lincoln each threw a scoreless inning for the Reds, as did Kent Mercker, who missed the 2007 season after having surgery on his left shoulder.

“Belisle threw well. Everybody threw well,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We almost had a shutout. They just had five singles and we didn’t walk a batter. That’s a beautiful thing.”

Jerry Gil, trying to come back from elbow surgery, hit a three-run home run for Cincinnati.

“He has some big-time skills,” Baker said. “His arm is strong even after surgery.”

Gil had to leave the game when he pulled a muscle trying to beat out a ground ball in the seventh inning. The Reds will hold him out of Friday’s game, Baker said.

Scott Baker, considered a contender to start on opening day for the Twins, threw two scoreless innings.

“Baker’s learned what it takes to win at this level,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s matured. He has a better feel for what he’s doing. He got into trouble, but now he knows when to take something off the ball when he needs to.”

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