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.