BOSTON -- Mookie Betts must have known that All-Star voting ended Thursday night.The Red Sox right fielder, who was sixth among American League outfielders in the final update of the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, put on a performance encompassing every facet of his game, leading Boston to a 6-3
BOSTON -- Mookie Betts must have known that All-Star voting ended Thursday night.
The Red Sox right fielder, who was sixth among American League outfielders in the final update of the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, put on a performance encompassing every facet of his game, leading Boston to a 6-3 victory over the Twins at Fenway Park.
With an RBI single up the middle in the fifth inning, Betts gave the Red Sox their first and definitive lead of the night, further cementing his standout showcase.
In the fourth inning, Betts ignited what had been a dormant Boston offense, hitting a moonshot home run that would have gone well over the Green Monster had it not hit one of the outfield light fixtures. The homer was Betts' team-leading 13th of the season and gave the Red Sox their first run of the game.
"Betts is as good as anybody at getting to an inside pitch and keeping it fair," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
If offensive excellence wasn't enough, the right fielder robbed Eduardo Escobar of a sure single with a diving catch in the second inning. Betts had a 35-percent catch probability on the grab, making it his 13th four-star catch of the year, per Statcast™, which puts him one behind Minnesota's Byron Buxton for the most in the Majors.
"He's a great athlete, and his willingness to be the best he can be, the drive that he's got, the aptitude he has, it's not surprising," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's a quick learner, and to see him put not just a complete game, but a complete player together, that's why he was in the running for the best player in the [AL] last year. We saw it on display tonight on both sides of the baseball."
David Price pitched seven innings for the Red Sox, and seemed to gain more command once his offense put some runs behind him. The lefty stifled the Twins in his final three innings after giving up three runs in the first four. Price finished the game with no walks, a first for him this season.
Twins starter Kyle Gibson could not maintain his team's early lead, giving up five runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
"That was one of his better nights," Molitor said. "I thought he used his fastball well. He pitched in and got a couple jam shots on the right-handers. Overall, it was a good outing. A couple things changed it in the wrong direction for him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ladder ball starts rally: In the fifth inning, the Red Sox found themselves down 3-1 with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate. The lefty hitter ripped a ball to the opposite field that looked destined to carom off the Green Monster. However, the ball hit the infamous ladder that is attached to Fenway Park's famous wall, and instead of bouncing off of it, the ball remained in place for a moment, then descended down the facade, far from the reach of Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman. The odd "bounce" gave Bradley a double and helped Hanley Ramirez to score from first and set up the go-ahead rally.
"It really deadened it," Molitor said. "It changed the carom, and it came straight down and died at the track and allowed Hanley to score. It's been in play for as long as I remember, but I can't remember it having that type of effect on a baseball."
Hanley's back: With Ramirez missing the first three games of the series, questions were swirling about the designated hitter's offensive struggles. With one swing of the bat in the sixth inning, he answered his critics. Ramirez torched a home run to straightaway center field to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead and end Gibson's night. The homer traveled 427 feet.
"He's a very, very vital part of our team," Bradley said. "He's going to be just fine. He proved it last year; in the second half, he caught fire. I don't think we're going to expect anything less [this year]. Hanley's going to be just fine."
"I haven't seen that since I've been here. Maybe once during BP, but never in a game. I've never seen that."
-- Bradley, on hitting the Green Monster ladder
"It's not a park you get overly comfortable with at any point."
-- Molitor, on maintaining a lead at Fenway
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana will look to extend his winning streak to three games as the Twins open up a four-game series with the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT. In his last outing, Santana pitched six shutout innings against the Indians and has not allowed a run in seven of his 16 starts this season.
Red Sox:Doug Fister will make his second start for the Red Sox since being claimed off waivers by Boston last week, facing the Blue Jays in Toronto on Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET. The right-hander was solid in his first outing but picked up a loss against the Angels after allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings. The game marks the beginning of the Red Sox's 10-game road trip.
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Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Twins on Thursday.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Red Sox on Thursday.