"I think we sent a message," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after his team's 2-1 victory over the Twins at Hammond Stadium on Sunday. (Kevin Youkilis hit a wind-blown home run and Dustin Pedroia hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to account for the scoring.)
Francona couldn't quite keep a straight face, though. He paused for a moment before chuckling.
The Mayor's Cup, the annual competition between the Red Sox and the Twins in Fort Myers, has become something of a running joke at spring training. The Red Sox won last season's trophy, but even Francona had to double-check that fact before the first meeting between the two teams.
Some joked that the Red Sox had stacked their pitching for today's game with Josh Beckett (two shutout innings), Tim Wakefield (two shutout innings), Jonathan Papelbon (one shutout inning), Hideki Okajima (one shutout inning) and Takashi Saito (one shutout inning). The Red Sox, after all, had lost the first game of the five-game series by a 5-2 score last week.
"We've got our backs against the wall," Francona told reporters before the game, his tongue still embedded in his cheek.
That, of course, was purely coincidental. The result of today's game, of course, is worth as much as the result of tomorrow's game against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale: Nothing.