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The Red Sox swept the Twins in Target Field Wednesday night, knocking off their Midwestern competition 7-6 despite a sixth-inning rally cued by collapses from Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox bullpen, and Bobby Valentine.
Boston got off to a hot start in the second as Mike Aviles' home run highlighted a four-run attack that gave Clay Buchholz some sizable room to work with. He offered one back in the bottom of the inning, but had the Sox strike again for two more runs in the third on a clutch two-out single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
A leadoff triple from Dustin Pedroia helped make it 7-1 in the top of the fifth, but the lead wouldn't stay quite so large for very long. After striking out Sean Burroughs to start the sixth, Clay saw the game slip away from him on, of all things, a pair of singles--one a bunt, and the other a ground ball. Apparently unsettled by the hits, Buchholz surrendered an RBI double to Denard Span, and then waked Jamey Carroll before being yanked.
His replacement in Scott Atchison would do nothing more than allow a ground ball single to Joe Mauer before having his night end. Then the true nightmare scenario occurred: Justin Thomas entered a close game. Facing Justin Morneau, Thomas allowed a double that brought the Twins within just two runs, and then beaned Chris Parmelee in the head, leaving him prone at home plate for several long minutes while trainers attended to him. Matt Albers would give the Twins another run before finally ending the inning with just a one-run lead remaining to the Sox.
The good news for Boston was that, for once, the rest of the pen was up to the task. While the offense disappeared in the last third of the game, Vicente Padilla and Franklin Morales each provided clean innings, leaving just Alfredo Aceves and the ninth. The Sox' closer would bring plenty of fear with him, loading the bases with two outs, but managed to strike out Denard Span for the win.
Buchholz Struggles: Another bad game for Clay Buchholz could have been better had it ended in the fifth, but even then that would have just been on the surface. Buchholz was hittable all game long, and in the end paid for it with his fair share of runs allowed. How much more of this can the Sox take before they go looking elsewhere for six innings a game, be it Aaron Cook or the returning Daisuke Matsuzaka?
Valentine Doesn't Learn: After explicitly apologizing for bringing Justin Thomas into an important situation earlier in the season, Bobby Valentine again asks the southpaw who can't get lefties to get a key out. No surprise that he didn't. Does Valentine apologize again, or is he going to get a free pass after a win?
I Like Mike: Mike Aviles' fourth homer on the season leaves him with a ridiculous .952 OPS to this point in the season. Remember how many people were clamoring for Iglesias earlier in the year?
|Final - 4.25.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||4||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||7||10||0|
|WP: Clay Buchholz (2 - 1)
SV: Alfredo Aceves (4)
LP: Liam Hendriks (0 - 1)
The Red Sox are out for a sweep Wednesday night as they hope against hope that Clay Buchholz can record his first decent outing of the season.
He'll get his chance against a Twins lineup lacking Josh Willingham and with a rookie starter in Liam Hendriks on the mound opposite him.
Can Buchholz keep the ball in the park? Can the Sox keep their offensive run going against the young Hendriks? We'll keep you up-to-date on the action as it happens in Target Field.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, Final -- And the Red Sox win! Alfredo Aceves makes a show of it in the ninth, loading the bases, but gets a strike out of Denard Span to end the game.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, Mid 9 -- Alfredo Aceves will have zero wiggle room as the Sox go down quietly in the ninth.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, End 8th -- A long fly ball from Justin Morneau puts some hearts in some throats, but Marlon Byrd races back in plenty of time to make the catch on the edge of the track in dead center. A clean inning from Franklin Morales puts the Sox just three outs from victory, but those three haven't been the easiest to get in recent games.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, Mid 8th -- It's looking like the Sox will have to survive with just the one run lead. Glen Perkins entered the game for the 8th, and had just about the best inning a pitcher can have, striking out Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis in order--all swinging--to bring the Twins back up still trailing by just one.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, End 7th -- From the terror of Thomas to a quiet 1-2-3 inning from Vicente Padilla, who gets the help of a strong throw from Kevin Youkilis to just barely record the out on Ben Revere at first.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, Mid 7th -- The last thing the Sox need right now is for the offense to go into the hole, but it's a 1-2-3 inning for the Twins--albeit with the help of a double play ball from Dustin Pedroia.
Red Sox 7, Twins 6, End 6th -- Did I jinx it? I jinxed it, didn't I? From on a roll to out of the game, Clay Buchholz completely fell apart, and now the bullpen is doing its thing, which means the Twins are back in the game.
After striking out Sean Burroughs to start the inning, Clay saw Ben Revere hit a bunt single, and that unraveled him. Alexi Cassila would single up the middle, and then a double to the wall in right from Denard Span scored the first Twins run since the second.
After a walk to Jamey Carroll it was all over for Clay Buchholz, leaving Valentine to turn to the terrible, terrible bullpen. Sending in Scott Atchison to apparently face just the one batter, Valentine saw Joe Mauer single on a ground ball, and then made the same mistake he's admitted to making before: pitching Justin Thomas in an important situation. Sure enough, Justin Morneau doubled off the awful southpaw, and suddenly the Sox found themselves in a 7-5 game.
Thomas' only other contribution to the game would be hitting Parmelee in the head, leading to a terrifying moment at home plate where Parmelee lay face down surrounded by trainers. He would leave the field on his own power, as would Thomas, replaced by Matt Albers who promptly gave up an RBI single to Trevor Plouffe before finally escaping the inning.
Red Sox 7, Twins 1, Mid 6th -- Boston goes quietly in the top of the sixth, as Swarzak has settled things down for Minnesota.
Red Sox 7, Twins 1, End 5th -- Miracle of miracles, Clay Buchholz records the 1-2-3 inning, getting all his outs on the ground for an easy fifth. That's a good sign for a team that certainly doesn't want to have to go looking for too many outs from its bullpen. With 88 pitches on his arm, Buchholz isn't too long for this game, but if he can even get a couple outs in the seventh it could mean quite a lot.
Red Sox 7, Twins 1, Mid 5th -- The Sox tack on another run thanks to a leadoff triple from Dustin Pedroia (not played terribly well by Trevor Plouffe) and a single from Adrian Gonzalez. The rest of the side went down nice-and-quiet with Anthony Swarzak coming in to end Hendriks' miserable night.
Red Sox 6, Twins 1, End 4th -- Clay Buchholz is living by the skin of his teeth right now. Another pair of one-out hits had Buchholz again staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, but managed to take out Jamey Carroll and Joe Mauer with weak contact to keep the Twins at just the one run.
Red Sox 6, Twins 1, Mid 4th -- For once, no runs for the Sox, who strand Marlon Byrd at first after an infield single. That means the outfielder has now surpassed his total number of hits for the Cubs this year in his three games with the Red Sox.
Red Sox 6, Twins 1, End 3rd -- More baserunners for Clay Buchholz, but still no more runs at least. Singles from Justin Morneau and Chris Parmelee put two on with one out, but a strikeout of Trevor Plouffe and a timely fly ball ended the inning without damage.
Red Sox 6, Twins 1, Mid 3rd -- More success for the Red Sox against young Liam Hendriks, as they score two more to build their lead back up to comfortable territories.
The two runs that would eventually come around to score were on from the get go, with Dustin Pedroia singling and Adrian Gonzalez walking. David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis would not manage to do anything more than advance the runners, with a pop out and ground out between them, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia showed he was ready to keep his hot streak going by smashing a two-out single into right field to score both runners.
Red Sox 4, Twins 1, End 2nd -- Another shaky inning for Clay Buchholz saw the righty surrender a double to Ben Revere and a single to Alexi Casilla to get the Twins on the board. Still, with all three of his outs coming on the ground, he at least seems to be away from the fly balls that have hurt him so badly of late.
Red Sox 4, Twins 0, Mid 2nd -- And just like that, the Sox are off to another amazing start. With Adrian Gonzalez having worn down Liam Hendricks in the first, the lineup started doing major damage in the second. David Ortiz got things rolling quietly enough with a 5-pitch walk, and Kevin Youkilis followed up with a ringing single to center.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was caught looking at strikes, but Cody Ross was able to drop a hit into left for the first run of the game. Marlon Byrd seemed ready to continue the assault with a line drive, but it was hit too close to Denard Span to drop in, as the center fielder leaned over to snag the sinking ball before it hit the ground.
The big hit would ultimately come from Mike Aviles, however. Receiving a pitch away, Aviles was able to put a surprising amount of power into the ball despite reaching all the way across the plate to pull it. With the ball landing just barely into the stands, Aviles pushed three runs across at once, giving the Sox the 4-0 lead.
Red Sox 0, Twins 0, End 1st -- Clay Buchholz is out of the first without allowing any runs, but it's not for a want of trying. Allowing two walks in his first frame of work, Buchholz had to escape a bases loaded jam, getting Trevor Plouffe to ground out to end the threat.
So no runs, but if you're the Red Sox you can't be feeling too confident in him at the moment.
Red Sox 0, Twins 0, Mid 1st -- The Sox go down scoreless in the first, but not without a fight--particularly from Adrian Gonzalez. While Mike Aviles and Ryan Sweeney went down in a hurry, Dustin Pedroia would double down the left field line, giving Adrian Gonzalez a chance with a runner in scoring position. While the slugging first baseman didn't manage to bring him in, grounding out to third, he only did so after working a ridiculous 15-pitch at bat--one that started with him down 0-2.
The Red Sox are after a sweep as they meet the Twins for game three Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. EST, with broadcasts on NESN+ and WEEI.
For the Sox to pull off the sweep, they're going to need some better pitching from Clay Buchholz than they have received so far this year. In his first three starts of the season, Buchholz has surrendered seventeen earned runs in as many innings. He'll have his chance for a rebound against a lineup without the hot-hitting Josh Willingham, who will miss the next three games on paternity leave.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, will have Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the lineup again as they face off against young Liam Hendriks.
Boston Red Sox (6-10)
The Red Sox saw Josh Beckett recover from early struggles and backed him up with plenty of offense against Nick Blackburn and the Twins bullpen in an 11-2 rout.
The Red Sox got off to an amazing start against Blackburn in the first. Mike Aviles led the inning off with a double, the first of five hits the Sox would manage in the inning. Ryan Sweeney scored Aviles from first with the second, and was replaced by Dustin Pedroia on the basepaths after a groundout. Pedroia would score on back-to-back singles from Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis loaded the bases with a third. A ground out from Cody Ross served to make it 3-0.
Josh Beckett found himself in trouble in the first, allowing a leadoff hit and then surrendering three straight one-out walks after getting ahead of each of Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, and Justin Morneau. He would manage to escape the inning unharmed, however, and tightened up from there, managing to make his way through six innings with just two earned runs to his name, striking out the side in his final frame.
The Sox, meanwhile, had gone about putting the game away. David Ortiz went deep in the third to make it 5-1, and Mike Aviles added another run in the fourth by leading off with a solo shot. A long run of doubles would serve to score four more before the fifth was over.
While Sox fans will all remember that no lead is untouchable these days after the way last week ended, this time the Sox' bullpen was up to the task, with Scott Atchison and Matt Albers combining for three scoreless innings to close things out.
Mike Aviles Keeps Rolling: Entering tonight with a five-game hitting streak, Mike Aviles put a punctuation mark on his recent performance with a 4-for-5 night, contributing a single, two doubles, and a homer to the Red Sox' cause. One almost wonders if the leadoff spot is the perfect spot for the switch-hitting infielder.
Josh Beckett Recovers: 37 pitches in the first with three walks and a run to his name? Hardly seems like the start to a solid outing, but Josh Beckett ended up making it work. Picking up a few quick outs along the way and allowing just one more run in the fifth (courtesy in large part to a pop fly that dropped perfectly for a double), Beckett finished his day with six innings, two runs, just the three walks he accumulated in the first, and five strikeouts to his name.
Was That So Hard?: The Twins are not the Yankees by any stretch of the imagination, but man, it sure would be nice if the Sox could've picked up some nice easy innings from the bullpen on Saturday like they did today. Matt Albers hardly seems likely to be old reliable, however, and Scott Atchison is more the mop-up/long relief sort than anything else, so this isn't exactly a sign for future success.
The Red Sox are after a winning streak in Minnesota, with Josh Beckett facing Nick Blackburn in the second of this three game series.
While the Red Sox finally snapped their losing streak last night, it came only with the help of Daniel Bard out of the bullpen. With Bard having informed the team he doesn't feel comfortable pitching back-to-back nights after avoiding those situations in the spring, and his next scheduled start coming on Friday, it seems highly unlikely he'll be making any such appearances tonight.
Can Josh Beckett keep providing scoreless innings? Can the Red Sox keep scoring runs? Is there any lead large enough for the bullpen?
We'll keep you up to date as the Sox hope to answer all those questions in the affirmative.
Red Sox 11, Twins 2, Final -- And the Red Sox win! Matt Albers gives up a one-out double, but nine runs, shockingly, is too wide of a gap to cover in the ninth. Even against this pen.
Red Sox 11, Twins 2, Mid 9th -- Mike Aviles records his fourth hit of the night--a single--in an otherwise quiet top of the ninth.
Red Sox 11, Twins 2, End 8th -- Scott Atchison makes quick work of the Twins in the bottom half of the eighth, striking out Joe Mauer and Clete Thomas before inducing a ground ball to Lars Anderson off the bat of Justin Morneau for out number three.
Red Sox 11, Twins 2, Mid 8th -- Jeff Gray is out of the game, and the Red Sox are back to scoring, with some replacements providing some help in the attack. Lars Anderson started things off with a single into left, and then moved along to second on David Ortiz' walk, and third on Nick Punto's. Darnell McDonald would end up with the RBI on a ground out.
Red Sox 10, Twins 2, End 7th -- Scott Atchison enters the game in the seventh after Beckett reached 100 pitches in the sixth, and gives the Sox a refreshingly clean inning of relief, striking out Denard Span in the process.
Red Sox 10, Twins 2, Mid 7th -- Jeff Gray continues to roll, retiring Kelly Shoppach and Mike Aviles with strikeouts before inducing a fly ball from Ryan Sweeney to close out his second 1-2-3 inning.
Aviles' strikeout, for what it's worth, may not have been a strikeout. The Sox continue to have arguments with home plate ump Adrian Johnson, who called Mike Aviles out on a check swing that may not have been without checking down to first.
Red Sox 10, Twins 2, End 6th -- Josh Beckett is just getting stronger now, striking out the side on 15 pitches. Gone are the difficulties of putting batters away with two strikes, clearly.
Red Sox 10, Twins 2, Mid 6th -- Minnesota has its first scoreless inning since the second, courtesy of Jeff Gray, who gets Kevin Youkilis, Cody Ross, and Marlon Byrd in order.
Red Sox 10, Twins 2, End 5th -- The Twins finally get to Josh Beckett again in the fifth, putting together a pair of doubles--a blooper to left that Mike Aviles couldn't make the basket catch on to lead the inning off, and a ground ball down the third base line with two outs--to push their second run across. Still, Beckett is through five on 85 pitches with some decent results so far.
Red Sox 10, Twins 1, Mid 5th -- The Sox send seven more men to the plate in the fifth, and add three runs to their tally to take it into double digits. Marlon Byrd continues to reach base after his change-of-scenery trade from Chicago, and now has just as many hits in a Sox uniform as he'd had in Chicago to start the year after a leadoff single. Kelly Shoppach would strike out behind him, but Mike Aviles came through with his third hit of the night, doubling to left to bring Byrd in to score. Two more doubles would come from Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez, adding another pair of runs before the frame was over.
Red Sox 7, Twins 1, End 4th -- Another compact 8-pitch inning leaves Josh Beckett poised to go at least into the sixth barring a meltdown. Quite the bounce back given how poorly things started for him in his three-walk first.
Red Sox 7, Twins 1, Mid 4th -- Nick Blackburn is out of the game, but Matt Maloney is faring little better against the Red Sox than his starting counterpart. Mike Aviles gave him a rude welcome to the game by wrapping a solo shot around the left field foul pole (why was he bunting?!). Ryan Sweeney kept it rolling with a double to center, and then scored on a one-out single from Adrian Gonzalez to make it 7-1.
Red Sox 5, Twins 1, End 3rd -- Beckett found himself in trouble again after Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham singled and doubled with one out, but managed to escape unharmed. A line drive from Justin Morneau found its way right into Mike Aviles' glove for the second out, and while Marlon Byrd almost played a weak fly into a hit, he recovered in time to record the all-important third out.
Red Sox 5, Twins 1, Mid 3rd -- Nick Blackburn, as a rule, throws pitches that can be hit. David Ortiz, as a rule, hits pitches. Put these two together, and you get perhaps the loudest homer of the season for the Red Sox, as Papi loses one into the stands in right with Adrian Gonzalez already on base via a walk. Cody Ross almost added another shot, and Marlon Byrd singled as the Sox keep plugging away at Blackburn.
Red Sox 3, Twins 1, End 2nd -- A blissfully short bottom of the second for Josh Beckett, who elevates with a fastball to strike Chris Parmelee out on four pitches, and needs just five more to retire the side. The pitch count is still way too high, but it's not quite as bad as it was.
Red Sox 3, Twins 1, Mid 2nd -- A puzzling bunt disrupts what could have been a good inning for the Red Sox. With Kelly Shoppach leading the frame off with a double, the Sox were 6-for-9 against Nick Blackburn the first time through the lineup. Given that Mike Aviles started it all off with a double, it makes not a lick of sense that he then squared around to bunt Shoppach to third.
Now with an out in his pocket, Blackburn managed to get Sweeney to ground out to first with the infield in, and then got Dustin Pedroia to do the same to short to end the inning.
Red Sox 3, Twins 1, End 1st -- Josh Beckett allowed just the one run, but after 37 harrowing pitches you would be forgiven for thinking the Twins had taken a lead.
Taking a different approach from Blackburn, Beckett chose just to walk his baserunners. After giving up a leadoff single to Denard Span, Beckett would nearly get two outs from a Jamey Carroll ground ball, and then got ahead of the next three batters 0-2, 1-2, and 0-2.
All three walked, bringing a run in. While Josh Beckett did plenty of shouting at the home plate umpire on close pitches, the fact is Beckett just couldn't put guys away with shaky off-speed stuff. He's lucky to have escaped with just the one run in, as Ryan Doumit struck out and Danny Valencia grounded to third.
Red Sox 3, Twins 0, Mid 1st -- The Sox make their way through nearly their whole lineup in the top of the first, scoring three runs with Mike Aviles' leadoff double the only extra-base hit involved. Ryan Sweeney would score him with a single in the Sox' second at bat of the night, and after Dustin Pedroia grounded out, it was off to the races. Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis each recording singles, loading the bases and bringing home another run.
Unfortunately, the Sox would only manage to score one of their remaining baserunners, with Cody Ross hitting a weak dribbler to first base that thankfully was too slow to provide a double play ball. Marlon Byrd grounded out to third to end the threat. Still, another good start for the Sox.
The Red Sox will try to make it two wins in a row as they send Josh Beckett to the mound against the Twins Tuesday night. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, MLB Network, and WEEI.
The only change to the lineup comes behind the plate, and it's a bit aggravating. After a terrible start to the season, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has gone 6-for-9 in the last couple of games with a homer and two doubles. He will not be starting tonight, however, as Josh Beckett continues his trend of being the odd-man-out on catchers. Instead, Kelly Shoppach will be the one calling the pitches.
Of course, Kelly Shoppach has been on a roll himself in his relatively few plate appearances. But with Shoppach largely a lefty-masher and right-handed Nick Blackburn taking the mound for the Twins, it's something of a tough pill to swallow.
Boston Red Sox (5-10)
Cody Ross never made much of a lasting impact with the five teams he played for before joining the Boston Red Sox this offseason. Just 15 games into his first season in Boston, he leads the club in home runs. Did the Sox catch lightning in a bottle?
The Red Sox defeated the Twins 6-5 Monday night, ending a long losing streak on the power of two homers from Cody Ross and a clutch pair of relief outs from Daniel Bard.
Jon Lester and the Sox got off to the sort of hot start we've become accustomed to seeing over the last few days. An Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice fly put Boston up 1-0 in the first, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia golfed a two-run shot to right in the second to make it a three-run lead for the Sox. Lester, meanwhile, escaped three innings without harm, looking strong in the third with a clean, two-strikeout inning.
Just as they have in the other games, however, the Sox couldn't keep it going. Lester found himself in trouble early in the fourth, and gave up a two-run double to Ryan Doumit, followed by an 0-2 homer to Danny Valencia on a hanging curveball. Scoring again the fifth when the Sox sacrificed a run for a double play, the Twins entered the seventh up 5-3.
Then came Cody Ross. With the suddenly-hot Jarrod Saltalamacchia on ahead of him, Ross hit one of his patented left field moonshots to tie the game. With Daniel Bard extricating himself from a nasty situation left him by Franklin Morales in the eighth, Ross was given a shot to put the Sox ahead in the ninth against Matt Capps. He did just that, putting a surprisingly textbook swing on a pitch over the plate and taking it, of all places, to the opposite field for the go-ahead solo shot.
Alfredo Aceves gave Sox fans some heart troubles when he allowed the tying run to reach first with one out and gave up one of the loudest outs ever to Trevor Plouffe, but somehow, some way, the Sox were able to leave Target Field with a win.
Daniel Bard's Return to the Pen: While Daniel Bard is still expected to start Friday's game, by managing to strand a runner on third with just one out he's certainly helped to forward the idea that he is exactly what the pen needs right now. Alfredo Aceves' heart attack save doesn't hurt either. Of course, Bard himself is no proponent of that idea, and it only looks like a good one so long as the likes of Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook, and Daisuke Matsuzaka can provide quality innings out of the rotation.
Cody Ross --
1 2 3 4 5 Hit Wonder: For the majority of his at bats, Cody Ross does not look like a terribly good player for the Red Sox. Every once in a while, however, he starts looking like one of the best hitters in the game, and on the whole those are coming often enough for Ross to be not simply valuable, but indispensable. With a .973 OPS, he's about all that's gone right for the Red Sox that wasn't entirely expected to.
Rotation Struggles: After another difficult outing, Jon Lester is not nearly looking like the anchor the Sox and their rotation need right now. Of course, Lester is known for this sort of thing in April, and he often looks very good right up until the moments he looks terribly bad. But with things going the way they have, the Sox are in need of some decent pitching from their lefty ace in Chicago.
The Red Sox and Twins are underway in Target Field, with Boston in sore need of a positive night.
We'll keep you up to date as Jon Lester and Jason Marquis take the mound in the first of this three-game series.
Red Sox 6, Twins 5, Final -- Daniel Bard did not come back out for the ninth, Alfredo Aceves allowed a one-out baserunner, and Trevor Plouffe hit a ball that every single person watching knew for sure was gone on contact...right until it died on the track, leaving the Twins with just one out left. After a long at-bat, Alfredo Aceves snagged Denard Span's ground ball and threw to first, finally putting Boston back in the win column.
Red Sox 6, Twins 5, Mid 9th -- Amazingly, Cody Ross plays the hero again today, and not in his typical fashion. While Ross has hit his fair share of dead-pull homers, seeing him take Matt Capps to the opposite field for another long ball, this time to put the Red Sox up? It's one of those things that makes you think for once the Sox are actually destined to take this one.
Red Sox 5, Twins 5, End 8th -- In what could be the moment that changes Daniel Bard's career, he enters the game after a leadoff triple with one out on the board and proceeds to get Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit to end the inning.
Red Sox 5, Twins 5, Mid 8th -- The Sox get nothing from their 3-4-5 hitters, and now enter the terrifying situation of having their bullpen on the mound in the midst of a tie ball game. Franklin Morales is first unto the breach in the eighth. Hopefully he'll fare rather better than in his last outing.
Red Sox 5, Twins 5, End 7th -- Jon Lester has a blissfully short seventh inning, retiring the side on just eight pitches--the last being his 112th of the game--as he keeps the Sox from having to go to their bullpen in the middle of the frame. Given the state of the pen, that could be very, very important tonight.
Red Sox 5, Twins 5, Mid 7th -- Life for the Red Sox! In typical Cody Ross fashion, the Sox' left fielder has two at bats where he looks a little lost and does nothing much at all, and then in his third, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on base by way of a single, crushes a moonshot to left field to tie the game at 5-5.
Red Sox 3, Twins 5, End 6th -- Jon Lester finally stops the bleeding, getting the group that killed him in the fourth to go down 1-2-3 in the sixth.
Red Sox 3, Twins 5, Mid 6th -- Despite a strong start to the inning with Ryan Sweeney and Dustin Pedroia hitting leadoff singles. The 4-5 combination, however, would prove useless, with Gonzalez and Ortiz each grounding out, the latter for a well-turned double play that ended the inning.
Red Sox 3, Twins 5, End 5th -- More trouble for Jon Lester, who puts runners on the corners with zero outs, forcing the Red Sox to sacrifice a run for a double play on the ensuing ground ball from Jamey Carroll. You get the feeling that, but for Carroll, this might be a much worse day for Jon Lester, bad though it already is.
Red Sox 3, Twins 4, Mid 5th -- The Red Sox provide Lester with no pick-me-up after his poor fourth inning, as Cody Ross, Marlon Byrd, and Mike Aviles each ground out--albeit taking a good few pitches to do so--in the fifth.
Red Sox 3, Twins 4, End 4th -- And just like that the Red Sox are behind. It would be a little shocking to see Lester fall apart so suddenly were it not becoming par for the course for the team in general.
After getting Jamey Carroll to ground out to start the inning, Lester surrendered a single and a walk to Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham respectively. He would get Justin Morneau by way of the K for the second out, but allowed Ryan Doumit to put a curveball on a line for a two-RBI double. Not content to simply shrink the lead, Lester then proceeded to hang an 0-2 curveball to Danny Valencia, who slammed a no-doubter over the wall in left for a two-run homer and the 4-3 lead.
Red Sox 3, Twins 0, Mid 4th -- This time it's Marquis who gets some help from the double play, erasing another hit from David Ortiz on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia ground ball. It's OK, he can be forgiven after hitting in five straight plate appearances.
Red Sox 3, Twins 0, End 3rd -- Jon Lester records his first 1-2-3 inning in a good while, sitting down Chris Parmelee and Denard Span on strikes in a clean third. Our southpaw ace sits at 46 pitches through three, and suffice to say, looks a lot stronger than he did against the Rangers.
Red Sox 3, Twins 0, Mid 3rd -- A bit of a baserunning blunder for Ryan Sweeney, who doubles with one out and then gets thrown out at third trying to advance on Dustin Pedroia's ground ball to short. Still, it doesn't cost the Red Sox, as Pedroia would have been out #2 either way, and Adrian Gonzalez watched strike three to bring the inning to an end.
Red Sox 3, Twins 0, End 2nd -- Lester gives up another baserunner in the second on a line drive single, and just as soon records another double playcourtesy of Danny Valencia. He's looking an awful lot like himself
Red Sox 3, Twins 0, Mid 2nd -- The Sox keep on scoring in the second inning, picking up an opposite-field single to beat the shift from David Ortiz to start the inning off. Kevin Youkilis would manage to avoid a double play despite hitting one on the ground to short, which ended up being very important when Jarrod Saltalamacchia put a golf swing on a low 0-2 fastball, launching it over the wall in right for a 2-run shot.
Red Sox 1, Twins 0, End 1st -- Not the cleanest inning for Jon Lester, who gave up a leadoff walk to Denard Span and had Joe Mauer go opposite-field with a high fastball over the outside part of the plate. A ground ball off the bat of Jamey Carroll let the Sox pick up two outs with one pitch, however, and Ryan Willingham struck out to end the threat.
Red Sox 1, Twins 0, Mid 1st -- The Red Sox are off to another fast start, though as we've seen lately those aren't exactly a guarantee for success through the next eight innings.
Mike Aviles got the Sox started on the right foot with a line drive single to left field. While arguably the hottest hitter on the team in Ryan Sweeney did not enjoy the same success, swinging through a pitch low-and-away for strike three, Dustin Pedroia was able to poke a single back up the middle, moving Aviles along to third. This proved to be the difference between a run and not, as Adrian Gonzalez' sinking liner was gloved by Chris Parmelee deep enough for Aviles to run home to put the Sox on the board.
The Red Sox will welcome their newest member Marlon Byrd to the fold in Minnesota Monday night as they take on the Twins in Minnesota.
Byrd will bat ninth as he takes over in center field for the injured Jason Repko. It's been a terrible start to the season for Byrd, who went 3-for-43 in the first few weeks with the Cubs. He'll look to get back to the solid production he's had throughout his career with the change of scenery.
Otherwise, the Sox will stick with the same bunch in the same order as they've had of late.
Boston Red Sox (4-11)
The Red Sox (4-10) will try to finally right the ship as they hit a softer portion of their schedule against the Minnesota Twins (5-11). Jon Lester will be first to the mound, hoping for a better outing than he had in his last start against Texas.
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