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Porcello 10-0 at home as Sox fend off Twins

July 24, 2016

BOSTON -- Two of the biggest constants of the season for the Red Sox -- Rick Porcello winning at home and the Boston bats hitting at home -- intersected nicely in Sunday's 8-7 victory over the Twins that salvaged a split of a four-game series at Fenway Park.Hanley Ramirez and

BOSTON -- Two of the biggest constants of the season for the Red Sox -- Rick Porcello winning at home and the Boston bats hitting at home -- intersected nicely in Sunday's 8-7 victory over the Twins that salvaged a split of a four-game series at Fenway Park.
Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw both smashed three-run homers while Dustin Pedroia added a tiebreaking solo shot. The long balls by Pedroia and Shaw came during a five-run fifth.
"It's not only one guy," said Ramirez. "Anybody can hurt you, from top all the way to the bottom. That's how good we are and that makes it easy for everybody."
Over 6 2/3 innings, Porcello (10-0, 3.21 in 11 Fenway Park starts) gave up six hits and four earned runs, walking one and striking out eight. Porcello is 13-2 with a 3.57 ERA, one win behind Chris Sale and Chris Tillman for the American League lead.

"I've had quite a few starts at home. I just feel good here," said Porcello. "I feel comfortable pitching in front of our crowd. We play good baseball here. It's all of the above."
Things got interesting late, as the Twins rallied for two in the seventh and two more in the eighth. But Boston's bullpen buckled down. The win kept the Red Sox 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East.

For the second straight day, the Twins didn't get much from their starter. Tommy Milone allowed 10 hits and eight runs over 4 2/3 innings. Four of the runs were unearned, thanks to an error by Miguel Sanó. Most of Minnesota's production came from the bottom of the order, as Juan Centeno had three RBIs and Byron Buxton had two.
"We had a chance to beat a team that's been playing really well to win three out of four," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Unearned runs are painful. It's tough when you can't get off the field."
Tazawa escapes jam, Ziegler slams door: With the bases loaded and nobody out and the Red Sox holding an 8-5 lead in the eighth, manager John Farrell went to Junichi Tazawa. Though the setup man did allow two inherited runs to score, he got two key strikeouts (Eddie Rosario and Buxton) and escaped with the lead still intact. Both strikeouts were on nasty splitters. Tazawa came off the disabled list Friday after battling a right shoulder impingement. In the ninth, Brad Ziegler mowed the Twins down 1-2-3 to notch his first save for the Red Sox.

"He's been a godsend, to be honest," Farrell said of Ziegler. "It's a comfortable inning. It's balls on the ground. I think he's given up one hit in the 20-plus hitters he's faced. He's very calm. He's experienced back there. His addition back there has given us a huge boost in light of the injuries to Koji [Uehara] and Craig [Kimbrel]." More >

Sano makes crucial error: Sano made an error at third base for a third straight game, but this one was the most costly of the series. With two outs in the fifth, Aaron Hill hit a grounder to third that got past Sano for an error to score Xander Bogaerts and keep two runners on. It set the stage for Shaw's three-run homer that knocked Milone out of the game.

"That ball was a low line drive and I tried to stay down, but the last bounce it went high," Sano said. "It's bad for me, and the team. He was pitching really good. When I'm in the field, I try to play really hard and catch every ball." More >
Han-Ram continues power tear: For the second straight day, Ramirez clubbed an early three-run homer that gave the Red Sox the lead. But unlike Saturday's game, the Red Sox held the lead. It was Ramirez's fifth homer this week and 13th of the season.

May's big day: Reliever Trevor May helped the Twins stay in the game by tossing a season-high 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two and walked one without giving up a hit. It was a good sign from May, who gave up four runs in two innings in Thursday's blowout loss.
"It was nice to see Trevor come in and have a nice outing to keep us in there," Molitor said. "He at times has been close to brilliant with his strikeout ratio and being a power pitcher who can mix in his other three pitches. But he's struggled with his consistency. He has a tendency to overthink his stuff."
"We're going home with a winning record on the trip, but you'd like to get greedy and finish it with a win. But we weren't able to do it." -- Molitor, on the Twins, who went 4-3 against Detroit and Boston

The Red Sox have homered in their past 15 games, belting 28 in the process. Earlier this season, the Sox homered in 22 straight.
Bogaerts was called out on a headfirst dive while trying to steal second in the fifth. But Farrell challenged the call, and it was overturned, with replays showing that Bogaerts snuck his right hand under the tag.

The Twins won a challenge in the sixth, when Brock Holt was initially ruled safe on a stolen-base attempt at second base with one out. But after a review, the call was overturned and Holt was ruled out.

Twins: After an off-day Monday, right-hander Ervin Santana (3-8, 3.93 ERA) is set to start against his former team when the Twins host the Braves in Interleague Play on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Target Field.
Red Sox: Lefty Drew Pomeranz will try to recover from his shaky first start for the Red Sox when he faces the Tigers in Monday's 7:10 p.m. ET opener of a three-game series. The Tigers counter with ace Justin Verlander at Fenway.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](** and listen to his podcast.