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Twins escape 9th-inning jam to top Red Sox

July 22, 2016

BOSTON -- After Mookie Betts smacked his second straight leadoff homer for the Red Sox, it seemed it could be another long night for the Twins. Instead, right-hander Kyle Gibson settled in, tossing eight strong innings of two-hit ball, and was backed by a solo homer from Brian Dozier and

BOSTON -- After Mookie Betts smacked his second straight leadoff homer for the Red Sox, it seemed it could be another long night for the Twins. Instead, right-hander Kyle Gibson settled in, tossing eight strong innings of two-hit ball, and was backed by a solo homer from Brian Dozier and an RBI double from Miguel Sanó in a 2-1 win on Friday night at Fenway Park.
It wasn't easy for Minnesota after Gibson departed, however, as closer Brandon Kintzler loaded the bases with nobody out with David Ortiz at the plate for Boston. But Kintzler got Ortiz to ground into a double play, with the Twins getting the outs at home and first. Hanley Ramirez lined out to right to end the game, and it handed Kintzler his seventh save.
"It's not the best feeling," Kintzler said of seeing Ortiz come to the plate. "But it's big moments right there. It's fun. That's why you play the game. It's not like I drew it up like that. It's just one of those moments where he's gonna beat me or I'm going beat him, but I'm going to give it all I got. And I threw a good sinker to him."
Great start from Gibson doesn't go to waste
Gibson helped Minnesota shake off Thursday's 13-2 drubbing, getting out of a first-inning jam with the help of a double play and cruising from there, as he didn't allow a hit in the next seven innings. The right-hander retired 14 in a row until walking Brock Holt to open the sixth. But he was helped by his second double play to escape further trouble. He might've had a shot to go the distance, but Sano made an error on a routine popup with two outs in the eighth to extend the inning.
Gibson outlasted Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. He gave up the solo homer to Dozier in the second before exiting in the sixth after issuing a one-out walk to Joe Mauer. Reliever Heath Hembree walked Dozier before giving up the go-ahead RBI double to Sano.
Sano Smash After Mauer and Dozier drew consecutive walks with one out in the sixth, Sano crushed a double off the wall in left-center field to give the Twins the lead. It was a laser into one of the deepest parts of the park, as it left the bat at 111 mph and would've traveled a projected 420 feet if it didn't hit the wall, per Statcast™.
"Miggy's big hit off the wall was one that put us ahead, so he had a good night," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He had at least three good at-bats."

Ya Betts Believe: Betts hit his fifth leadoff home run of the season on the second pitch of the night against Gibson. It was also his 20th blast of the year, landing in the Green Monster seats. Betts' 20 homers mark the most by a Red Sox hitter age 23 or younger since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. He left the game in the fifth with right knee soreness. More >
"He got a little soreness, a little stiffness as the game went on. Felt like he couldn't run as normal," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Precautionarily we got him off his feet. We'll check him when he comes in tomorrow to see if he's going to be available. Right now, day to day."

Dozier drills one: After Betts' homer in the first inning, Dozier countered with a solo shot of his own to open the second. The blast to left-center, Dozier's team-leading 17th of the year, left the bat at 103 mph and went a projected 422 feet, per Statcast™.

Bases loaded, no cigar: The Red Sox set the stage for a walk-off hit for Ortiz in the ninth. The bases were juiced with nobody out as Kintzler worked himself into a jam. Ortiz took a ball before grounding into a double play.
"[I'm] looking for a home run right there," Ortiz said. "The pitcher made good pitches. That's the name of the game. Made a good pitch, got himself out of the situation."

"Seems like they gotta bring their best when they come to Fenway, right?" -- Ortiz, on Gibson's dominant outing
"We're improving. It only took us two pitches to fall behind instead of one." -- Molitor, on the Twins giving up a leadoff homer on the second pitch after allowing one on the first pitch on Thursday
With Betts' leadoff homer in the first, it marked the third straight game the Twins allowed a homer to open a game, setting a franchise record. Detroit's Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff homer on Wednesday, while Betts accomplished the feat on Thursday and Friday.
In the fourth inning, Dozier hit a line drive into right field that slowly trickled toward Betts before he made the throw to second. Dustin Pedroia made the tag just as Dozier's foot touched the bag. After review, the call was overturned to out.

Dozier was involved in another review in the sixth inning, but as a fielder, when he tried to turn a double play on a grounder hit by Michael Martinez. Dozier made a diving stop up the middle, tagged second and threw from his knees to try to get Martinez, but he was ruled safe at first. The Twins challenged the play to see if there was runner interference, but the call on the field was confirmed and Martinez remained safe at first.

Twins: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.02 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the third game of the series on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Nolasco is coming off three straight quality starts, posting a 3.50 ERA over that stretch.
Red Sox: Left-hander David Price (9-7, 4.36 ERA) will make his 21st start of the season for Boston on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The southpaw is 5-0 with a 0.94 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and a .169 opponents' average in his last five starts against Minnesota.
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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](** and listen to his podcast.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for based in Boston.