The Boston Red Sox are starting to find their groove against the Minnesota Twins away at Target Field. In Monday’s game, the Sox pulled through with a win, 6-5, thanks in large part to Cody Ross’ two home runs. Starter Jon Lester went seven innings, allowing all of Minnesota’s runs, and though he wasn’t at his best, kept it close to give his team the win. Tuesday was a big offensive night with the Sox winning 11-2 and Josh Beckett making a stellar start. Now at 6-10, the Red Sox are still last in the division with all of the other teams in the East at 10-7, but are only three games behind.
On Monday, lead-off hitter, shortstop Mike Aviles, got the game started with a single. He went to third after second baseman Dustin Pedroia had a single, and scored on first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’s sac fly. They added two more runs in the second when catcher Jarrod Salatalamacchia hit his second homerun of the season.
Lester was strong through three innings, thanks to a couple of well-placed double plays, but ran into trouble in the fourth when the Twins touched him for four runs, taking over the lead. After allowing a single to Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer and a walk to DH Josh Willingham, Lester struck out first baseman Justin Morneau, but allowed a two run single to right-fielder Ryan Doumit. Third baseman Danny Valencia followed up with a two run homerun to take the lead, 4-3.
The Twins added to their lead in the fifth when he walked left-fielder Trevor Plouffe, allowed a single to center-fielder Denard Span, and a run scored when shortstop Jamey Carroll hit into a double play.
Neither team did much in the sixth, but Cody Ross hit a two-run homerun after Saltalamacchia’s single in the seventh to tie the game 5-5. Lester finished up the seventh with a solid 1-2-3 inning and handed over the ball to reliever Franklin Morales for the eighth. Red Sox right-fielder Ryan Sweeney had an error on Carroll’s line drive, letting him get to third with no outs. Morales got Mauer to ground out without the runner coming in, and Daniel Bard, his first bullpen appearance of the season, came in and got Willingham to line out to third, walked Morneau intentionally, and got Doumit to pop out to shortstop. The game remained tied going into the ninth.
Ross hit his second homerun of the night, this time a one shot, and Alfredo Aceves came in to close the game. It was Ross’ team leading fifth home run of the season and a big win for the Sox, with both the offense and pitching working up to the end.
Tuesday’s game was an easier win for the Sox with Beckett going six, allowing five hits, two runs, three walks, and five strikeouts. The Sox offense got it started once again in the first when Aviles led off with a double and came home on Sweeney’s RBI single. Pedroia hit into a grounder’s choice, but Gonzalez and hot-hitting David Ortiz had back-to-back singles to score Pedroia. Kevin Youkilis loaded the bases with a single and the team came up with one more run in the inning with Ross’ grounder, making the score 3-0.
Josh Beckett had a rough first inning when he walked three, but only allowed one run and got out of the inning by striking out Doumit and got Valencia to ground out. The score remained 3-1 until the top of the third when the Sox added to their lead with a two-run homerun from Ortiz. Aviles hit a one-run homerun of his own to lead off the inning and Sweeney followed with a double and came home on Gonzalez’s single. Through four, the Sox were winning 7-1.
They got three more runs in the fifth when Aviles, Pedroia, and Gonzalez hit three consecutive doubles, following new addition Marlon Byrd’s single. The Twins got a run in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back doubles from Willingham and Span, but Beckett struck out the side in the sixth to leave the game after the inning, 10-2.
The Red Sox scored one more run in the eighth after defensive replacement Darnell McDonald hit a grounder to third with the bases loaded. With Scott Atchison in for two and Matt Albers in for one, the Sox bullpen shut down the Twins and protected their lead 11-2.
On a strong offensive night, the Sox had something from everyone, but Ortiz’s outstanding hitting is really the highlight. As the main constant on the short season, he leads the league with a .444 BA and leads the team with 15 RBI. So far, so good in Minnesota with all of the team contributing in the wins.