A strong start from Clay Buchholz and a clutch homer from Pedro Ciriaco were not enough to snap the Red Sox' losing streak, as a late meltdown from Alfredo Aceves cost them a three-run ninth and a series loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Living up to expectations and playing the stopper was Clay Buchholz. He's been on a great run of late, and what the Sox needed more than anything was a strong start after seeing the Twins put up 11 on them in the first two games.
While Buchholz would get himself in trouble in the second, allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach and then eventually loading the bases, he would strike out Darin Mastroianni for his first out and then get a diving grab from Nick Punto and a ground ball to first to keep the Twins off the board. The next two innings would pass relatively uneventfully, letting Clay enter the fifth without a run to his name.
The Red Sox offense, meanwhile, had given him a small cushion in the first two innings. Carl Crawford doubled home Ryan Kalish in the first after the center fielder led off the game with a leadoff walk, and then Mike Aviles had gone long in the second. Cole De Vries would settle down from there, however, keeping the Sox to just the two runs through the end of the seventh inning.
The Twins would finally push across a run in the fifth thanks to an errant pickoff throw to first from Buchholz--his second of the game--and a throw from Kelly Shoppach on a nubber in front of the plate that hit the runner in the back. That unearned would be all they would get off of Buchholz in seven innings of work.
Unfortunately, Andrew Miller was up to the task of letting them tie the game in the eighth. Walking two and giving up an infield hit, Miller loaded the bases without recording an out before handing the ball off to Alfredo Aceves. The closer would come through about as well as could be hoped, escaping with just one run in on a sacrifice fly, but it tied the game all-the-same.
The tie would last for all of two pitches in the bottom of the inning, however, as Pedro Ciriaco pinch hit for Ryan Kalish against the left-handed Glen Perkins and added to his already impressive resume of clutch hits with a rocket over the Monster that put the Sox back up 3-2. With Cody Ross knocking home Dustin Pedroia after a hit by pitch, the Sox would grab an insurance run.
Those two runs, however, would not be enough for Alfredo Aceves. After starting the inning with a strikeout of Brian Dozier, Aceves allowed a double down the first base line to Alexi Casilla, and a bloop single to Jamey Carroll that put one run on the board. A long fly ball to right got Aceves his second out, but a single from Ben Revere kept the inning alive for Joe Mauer. Mauer worked the count full after a 2-2 pitch just missed away, and then gave him a fastball to hit. The result? A three-run homer over the Monster which put the Sox in a 6-4 hole they could not recover from.
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