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One of Joe Ryan's 'best starts ever' can't keep Twins from Grapefruit League basement

FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins lost to Baltimore 8-3 on Sunday at Hammond Stadium, clinching last place in the Grapefruit League this spring. But Rocco Baldelli was upbeat about what he saw from starting pitcher Joe Ryan.

"That might be one of his best starts ever," the manager said. "Honestly, his stuff was excellent. He's introducing a hard cutter into the situation. The split was thrown with good velocity and good intent. He started out with his stuff at a very high level, and then he basically held it."

Ryan, making his final start of training camp, surrendered only two hits during his 72-pitch outing, but both of them eventually scored. Rookie of the year Gunnar Henderson crushed a 3-2 fastball into the right-field seats in the first inning, and Orioles DH Ryan O'Hearn led off the second inning with an opposite-field single, then advanced to second base when Ryan balked by dropping the ball during his windup. O'Hearn got to third on a bouncer in front of home plate and scored on Ramon Urias' sacrifice fly.

Still, Ryan was almost as encouraged as Baldelli with his performance.

"I got the slider up to 90 [mph] today, which is awesome. Felt really comfortable with that, throwing it where I wanted to in the zone. And then the sweeper had a little bit better [velocity] too, which is great," Ryan said. "The split was right where I wanted it. Sinker was there. Four-seam, I've got to do a little bit better job of putting it in a couple of different spots that I wanted to, but that would just be nit-picking it a little bit."

Royce Lewis doubled into the left-field corner in both of his at-bats, and Ryan Jeffers raised his spring average to .360 with a pair of singles, but the Twins dropped to 8-18-3 for the spring.