BOSTON -- Rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia didn't look fazed while pitching with the Green Monster at his back for the time in his career.In fact, Mejia stifled the Red Sox while leading the Twins to a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night at Fenway. Over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, Mejia scattered
BOSTON -- Rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia didn't look fazed while pitching with the Green Monster at his back for the time in his career.
In fact, Mejia stifled the Red Sox while leading the Twins to a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night at Fenway. Over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, Mejia scattered five hits while walking one and striking out three. Mejia pitched five shutout innings for a win against the Indians in his previous start.
It was an important performance for the 24-year-old, considering Minnesota had lost the first two games of the four-game series to fall into second place in the American League Central. The Twins can now salvage a split on Thursday.
"I worked hard every single day I've been here," Mejia said. "I kept working. I felt more calm and more relaxed every time I go out there. I think that's the reason why I look better. I usually go out there and make sure the other team doesn't score as many runs. I've been able to do that and I've been able to hold it to zeros."
Rick Porcello pitched six innings for the Red Sox, giving up a two-run homer to Max Kepler in the sixth that allowed Minnesota to open up a 4-0 lead. The righty slipped to 4-10 as he gave up six hits and four runs while walking two and striking out six.
"Six innings, four runs, it's not like they're beating the cover off the ball," said Porcello. "It's just a couple of things here and there that I've got to clean up. I mean, I'm not making excuses for myself. I definitely hold myself accountable for the loss tonight. But in the grand scheme of things, I've got to keep building off of what I'm doing and what we're doing."
Prior to the homer by Kepler, Porcello walked Miguel Sano to open the inning.
• Sano, Kepler turnarounds a good sign
The Twins played from ahead in this one, generating a two-out rally against Porcello in the first. Sano provided an RBI double and Kepler added an RBI single.
"He gets two quick outs," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "[Joe] Mauer handles a well-located pitch for the double the other way. They get a couple more two-out base hits. Then he settled in. He was very good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mejia buckles down: After back-to-back singles by Deven Marrero and Mookie Betts in the third, the Red Sox had runners on first and second with nobody out, trailing just 2-0. But Mejia made the pitches he needed to, getting Dustin Pedroia on a popout and striking out Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland.
"He did a nice job," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He had to kind of battle. It's become his M.O. to burn through a bunch of pitches, but similar to his last start, he kept walking off the field with zeros."
Bullpen escapes: In the bottom of the seventh, down 4-0, Boston again had the middle of the order up with a chance to get back in the game. Righty Tyler Duffey induced Bogaerts into a fielder's-choice tapper to short that brought a run home. But the Twins were all too happy to trade that run for the out they got at first. Lefty Taylor Rogers then came on and struck out Moreland on a 1-2 curveball.
"I thought there were times we might have expanded the strike zone a little bit, trying to make something happen," said Farrell. "We once again would put men in scoring position, create some opportunities."
"Just one click, you know? That's how this game is. Just one click and you go from there. Like I say, I'm not going to stop working. I'm going to get hot." -- Hanley Ramirez, on getting ready to go on a hot streak for BostonMore >
"I like facing people that have awards and have established themselves in the big leagues and that are good players. I learn from them." -- Mejia, on pitching against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Getting to 10 games above .500 has been an elusive spot for the Red Sox this season. Now 43-35, Boston is 0-6 when trying to get to 10 above.
In the bottom of the sixth, with the Red Sox trying to generate a rally, Jackie Bradley Jr. busted it down the line and appeared to have an infield hit on a grounder to second base. But Molitor called for a challenge, and the original ruling was overturned.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson will be facing a familiar foe as the Twins and Red Sox wrap up their four-game series at Fenway Park on Thursday. In three career starts against Boston, Gibson is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Red Sox: Left-hander David Price (2-2, 4.76 ERA) takes the ball for the finale of this four-game series against the Twins at 7:10 p.m. ET. Price took the loss in his last start, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned) while walking one and striking out five over six innings. This is the final home game before the All-Star break for the Red Sox, who start a 10-game road trip in Toronto on Friday.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Twins on Wednesday.