MINNEAPOLIS -- Travis Shaw was one of the breakout performers for the Red Sox's league-leading offense early in the season, paying off the team's decision to make him the everyday third baseman by hitting .329 with six home runs and 29 RBIs through May 17.The past few weeks, however, have
MINNEAPOLIS -- Travis Shaw was one of the breakout performers for the Red Sox's league-leading offense early in the season, paying off the team's decision to make him the everyday third baseman by hitting .329 with six home runs and 29 RBIs through May 17.
The past few weeks, however, have been a struggle for the 26-year-old getting his first chance to be an everyday player in the Majors, the low point coming in Sunday's 7-4, 10-inning loss to the Twins at Target Field.
Shaw, who came off the bench Sunday as manager John Farrell has decided to start giving the left-handed hitter time off against left-handers, was called on to bunt after Dustin Pedroia led off the ninth with a single.
One inning after Boston rallied for three runs to tie the game, Shaw's bunt bounced straight back to lefty Fernando Abad, who turned to second base and started a double play.
"I called for the bunt," Farrell said. "Left on left; granted, that's something we don't typically call for him, but the way he's been swinging the bat of late, looking to move a runner."
The inning then ended after Sandy Leon popped out and the Red Sox couldn't capitalize on another opportunity. The top-scoring offense in the American League, Boston was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and grounded into four double plays.
Shaw said he couldn't remember the last time he was asked to bunt, but he wasn't surprised by the call.
"I can understand it," Shaw said. "I don't think I got a hit the whole road trip, so it's a decent spot to do it. I've still got to execute."
Shaw did have one hit on the road trip, a single in five at-bats in the opening game of the series. He finished the road trip 1-for-18 with a walk and three runs and is hitting .170 in 22 games since May 18.
Shaw entered Sunday's game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, striking out against right-hander Kevin Jepsen with runners on first and second. An 0-for-2 day left his average at a season-low .266.
"Nothing mechanical, my swing feels fine," Shaw said. "It's just been one of those ruts; [I'll] try to get out of it."
Shaw has hit .307 at Fenway Park, where Boston opens a 10-game homestand Tuesday against the Orioles. The Red Sox are set to face right-handers in the first two games of the three-game series -- Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman.
Brian Hall is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minnesota.