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Sox can't back Price's quality start, fall to Twins

Lefty allows 3 runs on 2 HRs in 6 innings; bats go 0-for-9 with RISP
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

MINNEAPOLIS -- Unable to generate anything with runners in scoring position for the second straight night at Target Field, the Red Sox took a 4-1 loss to the Twins on Wednesday.

Boston has scored an aggregate of three runs in the first two games at Target Field, and will likely need the bats to come to life to avoid getting swept in Thursday's series finale.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Unable to generate anything with runners in scoring position for the second straight night at Target Field, the Red Sox took a 4-1 loss to the Twins on Wednesday.

Boston has scored an aggregate of three runs in the first two games at Target Field, and will likely need the bats to come to life to avoid getting swept in Thursday's series finale.

View Full Game Coverage

The Red Sox went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position after going 2-for-13 in Tuesday's 6-2 loss.

"Yeah, 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. We walked a few times, got our hits, but we haven't been able to drive them in," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "At the end, you have to score points to win games, and we haven't done that lately."

David Price turned in a quality start, but the Sox lost for the first time in his last eight starts. The lefty scattered seven hits and allowed three earned runs over six innings, walking one and striking out three.

"We've lost our last two games," said Price. "I'm not worried about our momentum. We need to win tomorrow."

The Red Sox (49-26) have scored two runs or fewer in four of their last six games and are two games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.

"We've got to get more runs on the board," said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. "Can't always depend on the pitching. It's just two games."

There were two damaging blows from the Twins. The first was the home run by Robbie Grossman to lead off the bottom of the first. The second was a two-run homer by Max Kepler to snap a 1-1 tie in the fourth. Price allowed the go-ahead blast to the lefty-hitting Kepler on a 1-2 changeup.

Video: BOS@MIN: Kepler crushes a 2-run homer to right in 4th

"Grossman in the [strike-zone] box in that bottom right corner, but that's not where I was trying to go with that pitch," said Price. "I'm not trying to get a called strike three with a cutter in to a righty. I don't know if I have one in my career to be honest. It's something I'm trying to expand in, get a swing and miss or a foul ball or hit it off his leg, something like that. And then Kepler, it's in far enough but it just needs to be down."

Video: BOS@MIN: Grossman unloads a leadoff HR to left-center

Trying to rally back in the eighth, J.D. Martinez clocked a sinking liner to right, but Kepler made a sensational diving catch.

Though Twins starter Lance Lynn walked five in his five innings, the Red Sox only mustered three hits against the righty.

"I think it's just getting back into the strike zone," said Cora. "Lynn, [97] pitches, 50 strikes, [47] balls, that's tough right there as far as hunting strikes. But you have to stay with the program. You have to stay hunting pitches in the strike zone. We did a good job to get on base but not a good job driving them in."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Holt caught in rundown: The Red Sox had just tied the game in the top of the second when Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a throwing error by first baseman Logan Morrison, scoring Mitch Moreland. And with the dangerous Mookie Betts at the plate with runners at the corners, they had a good chance to take the lead. But as Bradley stole second on a pitch in the dirt, Holt got caught in a rundown between third and home to end the inning. Given the way the night transpired, it was a very costly out.

Video: BOS@MIN: Moreland scores on Morrison's error in 2nd

"If he throws to second, we can walk home. But that pitch, the catcher just blocked the ball and [Holt] was in no man's land and he got thrown out," said Cora. "We want to make sure he gets up and throws the ball so we can try to steal a run there. It was a pitch down and away so he wasn't going to throw it. I guess he was in no man's land there. His lead was very aggressive, and the catcher made a heads-up play and threw it behind him."

Video: BOS@MIN: Garver nabs Holt to end the top of the 2nd

SOUND SMART
The Red Sox could use a big game from Betts in the finale of this three-game series, and the right fielder has thrived against the Twins in recent years. Betts has an on-base streak of 15 straight games against Minnesota, hitting .365 (23-for-63) over that span.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the top of the eighth, Kepler made a full-extension diving catch to rob Martinez of a hit for the second out of the inning. Kepler needed to go 57 feet in 3.4 seconds in order to make the play. It was a five-star catch, according to Statcast™, with Kepler having a 4 percent catch probability.

Second-base umpire Scott Barry initially ruled that Kepler trapped the ball, but the Minnesota right fielder immediately jumped up and contested the call. The Twins challenged, and after a brief replay review, the call was overturned and ruled a catch.

Video: BOS@MIN: Max Kepler lays out to rob J.D. Martinez

UP NEXT
In the finale of a 10-game road trip through three different time zones, the Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound for Thursday's 1:10 p.m. ET matinee at Target Field. Porcello has enjoyed pitching at Target Field in his career, going 6-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 12 starts. The Twins will counter with righty Kyle Gibson. Boston started the trip 4-0 but needs a victory on Thursday to post a winning record.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, David Price