Twins sweep Red Sox, tied for first in AL Central
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins completed a three-game sweep over the Red Sox with a 6-4 win powered by homers from Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field. It marked the first sweep of Boston in Minnesota since 2006, and helped the Twins move into a tie for first place in the American League Central with the Royals at 28-18.
Right-hander Phil Hughes picked up the win for the Twins, allowing four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. He's now 4-0 in May after going 0-4 in April. Hughes was hurt by a pair of two-run homers from Dustin Pedroia, but was solid otherwise. After Minnesota used four relievers to record four outs, closer Glen Perkins shut the door in the ninth to improve to 18-for-18 in save opportunities.
"It was obviously a really nice series for us," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You get a chance and get a sweep against a good team like that. We were able to manufacture some runs early with some really good at-bats."
Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello, familiar with the Twins from his time with the Tigers, struggled, giving up six runs on seven hits over seven innings. Porcello gave up three runs in the third after loading the bases with one out, served up a two-run blast to Hicks in the fourth and a solo blast to Rosario in the sixth.
"Well, we haven't met our expectations of what we're capable of, and that's not to say you can't just erase a long history of individual players production -- it exists," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "The talent is there. To me, it's not injury related that's causing guys not to perform like they're capable. We've got to go out and do better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hicks starts rally, connects on two-run blast: With the Twins trailing, 2-0, in the third, Hicks drew a one-out walk off Porcello that started a three-run rally for Minnesota. It was the first baserunner allowed by Porcello, who gave up a two-run single to Torii Hunter with the bases loaded and a go-ahead RBI single to Joe Mauer. Hicks later crushed his first homer of the year with a two-run blast in the fourth to give the Twins some breathing room.
"I was looking for something offspeed there," Hicks said. "I was waiting for a changeup and got one high in the zone and didn't miss it." More >
Pedroia belts a pair: By ripping a pair of two-run homers on Wednesday, Pedroia matched his total of seven from last season. It was Pedroia's second multihomer game of the season. He also did it on Opening Day at Philadelphia. Pedroia's first blast gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the third. His second sliced Minnesota's lead to 5-4 in the fifth.
"Pedey today is the one boost for us, he comes up every day, shows up ready to compete," said Farrell.
Rosario, Hunter flash the leather: Hughes' day ended after giving up a single to Brock Holt with two outs in the seventh, and the Twins brought in lefty Brian Duensing to face Blake Swihart. Boston's catcher hit a deep drive to left, but Rosario made a nice catch up against the wall to end the inning. Pedroia led off the next inning with a bloop to right, but Hunter made a sliding catch to rob him of his third hit of the afternoon.
"Rosario made a nice play going back against the wall, and Torii, I don't know he came up with that ball to lead off the eighth," Molitor said. "It was a huge out."
Porcello can't get shutdown inning: No sooner had Pedroia staked the Sox to a quick 2-0 lead with his first homer than Porcello gave it right back in the bottom of the third. After an out to start the inning, the righty gave up a walk, single, walk, single and single in succession.
"It's huge," said Porcello. "Obviously it's extremely disappointing. That's one of the key parts about keeping momentum in the game and getting our offense back in the dugout, and I haven't done that well recently. I need to do a better job." More >
"You're talking about one of the best teams in baseball on paper, so to sweep them, I think we're definitely doing something right. We deserve to have a little fun in here. Everyone got up here and had a fun time after the game. -- Hunter, on the Twins' dance party in the clubhouse after the sweep.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Twins won their fifth straight game to improve to an American League-best 18-6 in May. It's their most wins in a month since going 18-10 in August 2010. They're also a season-high 10 games above .500, and it's also the latest in a season they've had a share of first place since winning the division in 2010.
Twins left fielder Eduardo Escobar was ruled safe on a stolen-base attempt by second-base umpire CB Bucknor in the sixth inning, but the Red Sox challenged the play. After a short review, the call was overturned to mark the second out of the inning.
Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez, the fourth-ranked prospect for the Red Sox, makes his Major League debut in Thursday's 8:05 p.m. ET contest against the Rangers. It is the first of a four-game series. More >
Twins: The Twins have an off-day on Thursday before hosting the Blue Jays for a three-game series that starts Friday night at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Trevor May starts for Minnesota and is coming off a career-high seven innings in a win over the White Sox on Saturday. More >
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