For the second time in May, Carl Crawford provided a walk-off hit for the Red Sox, who downed the Twins 2-1 in 11 innings.
For the game to even reach the eleventh inning took a lot of luck-good for the Twins, and bad for the Red Sox. Though Josh Beckett would eventually be erased from the decision, he continued his dominant 2011 with seven innings of shutout ball. The usual indicators of a strong Beckett start were all there: a tight breaking ball hitting the bottom of the zone when it did not dip out, and precise fastball command. While he was eventually forced to abandon a changeup that just wasn't working out, it turned out that he didn't need it. Most of the hits the Twins did pick up came on weakly hit flairs that dropped between charging outfielders and retreating infielders.
Still, the Red Sox did not provide him with much of a cushion. Nick Blackburn was not particularly effective, giving up line drive after line drive, but some terrific plays from Ben Revere in left field and some bad luck for the Red Sox let him escape relatively unscathed, with only a single run scoring in the fifth, when Adrian Gonzalez drove Jason Varitek in after a leadoff double.
That could have been enough, though, had luck not continued to work against the Red Sox. With Alfredo Aceves on to pitch the eighth, the Twins struck back in the weakest of fashions. A soft ground ball from Denard Span ended up being a hit when Aceves accidentally interfered with Kevin Youkilis, making the third baseman's throw to first too late. Span would be moved on to second base after a very questionable balk call from home plate umpire Joe West--the second such call from this umpiring crew in the series. Jonathan Papelbon came in to try and put out the fire, but on his eighth pitch to Jason Kubel gave up a broken bat blooper into center field that tied the game at 1-1.
With neither side able to mount a rally--partially thanks to Darnell McDonald once again displaying "aggressive baserunning" by getting picked off of first with two outs--the game went to extra innings, where the Sox were in for yet more trouble. Joe West once more became the ire of Fenway, calling what seemed to be an incredibly inconsistent strike zone, but Hideki Okajima fought back, racking up two scoreless innings of relief despite having runners reach scoring position in both frames.
With one out in the eleventh, the Red Sox finally got their break. Jed Lowrie earned a five-pitch walk off of Minnesota reliever Jim Hoey to lead off the inning, and was quickly replaced with Jose Iglesias at first. In came Carl Crawford, with his eight game hit streak in dire jeopardy. Working the count full, Crawford golfed at a 3-2 pitch nearly in the dirt as Iglesias took off for second. He made contact--loud, hard contact--and sent the ball flying towards the Green Monster. Even with the wind blowing in all night, the ball bounced hard off the top of the wall, and down to Ben Revere, who fired home. The relay was close, but with Iglesias never hesitating rounding third, came in late, allowing the young shortstop to score the winning run.