Red Sox take out Minnesota in extras
MINNEAPOLIS — Jonny Gomes hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to lift the Boston Red Sox to another comeback victory, 3-2 over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
The Red Sox have won three straight after losing 10 of their previous 14 games, while the Twins have lost three in a row after winning six of nine.
Twins reliever Josh Roenicke (1-1) gave up a single and a walk to open the 10th. After a sacrifice bunt, Stephen Drew was intentionally walked to load the bases. Then Gomes sent a drive to center field, where Aaron Hicks caught the ball but double-clutched on his throw and didn’t have a chance to get the speedy Dustin Pedroia.
Alex Wilson (1-0) picked up the victory by getting the last out of the ninth and Koji Uehara threw a perfect 10th for his first save, with closers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey both on the disabled list.
The night before at Tampa Bay, Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run double in the ninth to give Boston a 4-3 win.
Pedro Florimon hit a two-run homer off Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz, just the second time the right-hander was taken deep this season.
Buchholz struck out nine batters over seven innings, including five in a row spanning the first and second frames, but he was stuck with a no-decision for the third straight start and couldn’t match Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore with the second 7-0 record in the majors this year. Buchholz’s ERA, second-lowest among American League qualifiers, actually rose nine points to 1.78.
Florimon also had a hand in three double plays induced over six innings by Twins starter Vance Worley, who gave up just one unearned run. The shortstop made a slick pivot and quick throw to end the third and the fifth on grounders hit by Pedroia.
Florimon had a chance to start a fourth, with Brian Duensing pitching in the seventh, but Jacoby Ellsbury’s sharp bouncer glanced off his glove as he tried to make a sliding stop. The ball rolled into center field for a single, and Gomes — who led off with a walk — scored to tie the game at 2.
Worley could’ve easily held the Red Sox scoreless. Second baseman Brian Dozier’s off-balance, desperate throw in the first inning soared into the seats for an error to turn Daniel Nava’s infield single into two bases. He scored with two outs on the first of three singles by David Ortiz.
With Joe Mauer and his 14-game hitting streak on the bench because of a stiff back, the Twins had only two players in the lineup entering the game with a batting average better than Florimon’s .247. But Trevor Plouffe doubled off the wall to start the third, and with one out Florimon drove a first-pitch curveball just inside the foul pole and just over the right-field wall to put the Twins up 2-1.
Baseball hasn’t had many more statistically disparate pitching matchups one quarter of the way through a season than this one.
Worley’s ERA was the worst in the league entering the game at 7.15, and even after this solid performance no pitcher in the majors with a qualifying amount of innings has a higher opponent batting average than his .369.
Buchholz has finished seven innings in all but one of his nine starts this year, against the Twins at home two weeks ago, and allowed more than two runs in only one turn, also in that game when the Twins scored four times against him. Buchholz’s last home run surrendered was in his first start on April 3.
Worley brought his best, though, and the Twins put two of their four hits against Buchholz to good use. He walked three, including one in the fifth while the Twins loaded the bases with one out. But struggling slugger Josh Willingham took a called third strike, and Justin Morneau flied out to left field at medium depth. Morneau’s 11-game hitting streak ended.
Notes: With the Red Sox having started on Tuesday a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, manager John Farrell will try to give his regulars a rest here and there. 1B Mike Napoli, who went 1 for 11 in the three-game series at Tampa Bay earlier this week, was on the bench on Friday. ... Morneau, whose 17 RBIs are the most in the majors in May, dropped to 6 for 8 with 13 RBIs with the bases loaded this season. . ... Red Sox backup catcher David Ross, on the 7-day DL due to post-concussion symptoms, had an exam pushed back until Monday. He is still light-headed and fatigued. ... This was only the third time in nine starts with the Twins that Worley finished six innings. .. The Red Sox will send RH Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.75 ERA) to the mound on Saturday, opposite LH Scott Diamond (3-3, 4.08 ERA) of the Twins. Both of them gave up six runs and took the loss in their last start.