Twins pounce on errors, storm past Red Sox
BOSTON -- The Twins scored four runs in the ninth inning Thursday to earn an 8-4 victory over the Red Sox and a four-game series split at Fenway Park.
In a game that featured five errors and a litany of baserunning blunders, the go-ahead run scored when Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was unable to handle a low throw by catcher Blake Swihart on a Joe Mauer bunt.
"It's not a very good feeling putting a sacrifice bunt on for that guy," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "But he squared and just didn't get it out there very far. Fortunately, they couldn't execute and get the lead runner [out], and we were able to build from there."
After that, the floodgates opened. Red Sox closer Koji Uehara faced four batters in the ninth and did not record an out, giving up four runs (two earned), and the Twins sent nine men to the plate in the frame.
"The best way I can describe it is we made both physical and mental errors in this one, particularly in the second half of the game," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Solo homers by Swihart and Dustin Pedroia had helped Boston establish an early 4-0 advantage. But Torii Hunter hit a three-run shot for the Twins in the fifth, and Minnesota tied it in the sixth on Kurt Suzuki's RBI single, which followed a throwing error by Sandoval.
Lefty Tommy Milone allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings for Minnesota, while the bullpen combined to pitch four scoreless frames. The Twins have not dropped a series since May 12-14.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Torii's trio: Hunter sparked the Twins when they needed it most, cutting a four-run deficit to one with his decisive fifth-inning blast off Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright. The home run was his 200th as a member of the Twins, making him one of only eight players in club history to reach that plateau. The outfielder added singles in the fourth and ninth innings to finish the game 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
"That knuckleball, you don't know what you're going to get," Hunter said. "It's like a box of chocolates. Either you're going to be good, or you're going to [struggle]." More >
Poor Boston baserunning: In the seventh, the Red Sox had a runner thrown out at third and a runner thrown out at home on back-to-back plays. Hanley Ramirez ran into an out between second and third base on a grounder to the left side, and Mike Napoli was thrown out at home trying to score from first on a Xander Bogaerts single.
"It's lapse of concentration," Farrell said of the team's lackluster baserunning and defense. "That's the only thing I can explain right now. They're routine plays, plays that guys have made throughout their careers consistently. That was not a display of it today." More >
Minny's rough start: The Twins put themselves in an early hole after a pair of errors led to two unearned runs in the second inning. Trevor Plouffe committed the first mistake by dropping the throw to third on an infield single, allowing Mookie Betts to score. Another run came home when Eduardo Escobar misplayed a slow grounder to shortstop that rolled into the outfield.
Swihart's first jack: In the third, Swihart hit his first Major League home run after going 75 at-bats without one. The 23-year-old deposited a 2-0 offering from left-hander Tommy Milone over the Green Monster to give the Sox a 3-0 lead. He became the youngest Red Sox catcher to hit a homer since Rich Gedman in 1982.
"It felt good. It has been a long time coming, I guess finally being able to do something on the offensive side to help the team out," Swihart said. More >
"If you ask me, in 19 years, if I have had any second thoughts, I'd be lying if I said I haven't. But sometimes you've got to push the envelope. It didn't work today." -- Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield, on his decision to send Napoli home in the seventh
"That's longevity. You got to play a long time to do that. I'm happy about that, to go out there and have 200 home runs in this uniform." -- Hunter, on his 200th Twins homer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Six of Pedroia's eight home runs and 16 of his 23 RBIs have come in day games. He has played in 18 day games and 36 night games.
Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki reached base a career-high five times on three singles, a walk and an intentional walk. His first hit ended an 0-for-13 stretch at the plate.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-3, 2.61 ERA) takes the mound at 6:10 p.m. CT on Friday as Minnesota opens up a three-game series with the Brewers at Target Field. The Twins have won six of their last eight against Milwaukee.
Home team: The Red Sox begin a three-game series against the A's on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Fenway Park. Left-hander Wade Miley (4-5, 4.97) gets the start for Boston.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.