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.