Byron Buxton returns with home run in Twins' tie with Red Sox

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Phil Miller, Star Tribune
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FORT MYERS, FLA. – Good thing Byron Buxton's teeth are fixed. He had something to smile about on Sunday.

Buxton, who missed five days after requiring root canal and a crown on a broken tooth, ripped the second pitch he saw from Nathan Eovaldi, a 97-mph fastball, and drove it completely over the left-field concourse, a resounding announcement of his return to the lineup.

Buxton's long home run, his first of the spring, and a two-run double by Miguel Sanó an inning later, were the offensive highlights for the Twins until a wild eighth inning. Boston rallied behind a Josh Ockimey home run to take a one-run lead, but in the bottom of the inning, Keon Broxton slapped a two-out, one-hopper that handcuffed shortstop Chad De La Guerra and got past him for a single, scoring Andrew Romine with the final run of a 5-5 tie at Hammond Stadium.

After Minnesota took a 4-0 lead, the Twins' bullpen allowed three home runs, spoiling an afternoon which included Twins highlights by their offense, defense and pitching.

Kenta Maeda pitched the first four innings for the Twins and continued his near-perfect spring. The AL Cy Young runner-up retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced, allowed one walk and no hits, and ran his string of shutout innings to nine this spring.

Rookie center fielder Gilberto Celestine made a spectacular leaping catch in the seventh inning to rob Chad De La Guerra of a home run.

Hansel Robles surrendered back-to-back blasts by Rafael Devers and Christian Arroyo once Maeda left, however. And Ian Hamilton gave up a 4-2 lead by issuing a leadoff walk in the eighth to Connor Wong, allowing a one-out single to Jarren Duran, and then watching Ockimey line an 0-1 slider into the right-field seats.