Monday, April 23, 2012
Red Sox Snap A 5-Game Losing Streak With Come-From-Behind Win In Minnesota
Boston (5-10, 2-5 away) began a seven-game road trip by winning 6-5 tonight against Minnesota (5-12, 2-5 home) at Target Field.
Cody Ross (3 RBIs) slugged two home runs, Daniel Bard (1-2) was successful in his first appearance out of the bullpen (2 key outs) and Alfredo Aceves nailed down his third save of the season to help the Red Sox snap an ugly five-game losing streak.
Jon Lester had his second straight bad start in a row although this one was nothing compared to the disaster against the Rangers last week. He was up 3-0 and cruising in the fourth when Ryan Doumit (2 hits) hit a two-run double to left then the immortal Danny Valenica (1st of the season) cranked a two-run bomb to left center.
Lester was up to 105 pitches entering the seventh so I had no idea why he was still in when it was tied 5-5 but the head-scratching move turned out fine. He got a 1-2-3 frame and his outing was complete with seven full innings of five earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
In the first, Adrian Gonzalez gave Boston a 1-0 lead with his third sacrifice fly of the season, driving in Mike Aviles. In the third, Jarrod Saltlamacchia (2 runs, 2 hits) reached down and golfed a two-run shot (his 2nd of the season) to left off Jason Marquis.
The Twins scored their other run in the fifth when Jamey Carroll grounded into a double play. That ended up being a turning point since Minnesota had runners on first and third with no outs. The best part of Lester's uneven performance was that he forced three double plays.
It was only a matter of time before the Red Sox found a way to score some more runs against Marquis (6.1 innings, 5 earned runs, 11 hits, 3 strikeouts), a journeyman starting pitcher. It turned out that Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire-one of the best in MLB-gave them an assist by leaving him in too long. He served up a two-run homer by Ross into the upper deck in left in the seventh which tied it at five.
After Carroll's single turned into a triple on a throwing error by Ryan Sweeney (2 hits), Franklin Morales retired Joe Mauer (2 hits) for the first out of the eighth. That's when Bard was summoned. No pressure. He responded by getting Josh Willingham to line out. Justin Morneau was intentionally walked (great decision) and he was able to get Doumit to pop out to end the threat.
Ross added a solo shot, his fifth of the season, in the ninth against Twins closer Matt Capps (0-1), in a non-save situation. Ross is a dead pull hitter but he hit that the opposite way, over the right field fence.
Some Red Sox writers thought Bard would start the ninth but Bobby Valentine stuck with his embattled closer. It paid off as Aceves worked around a single for the save. There was one dicey moment as Trevor Plouffe's fly ball appeared to have the distance to get out off the bat but thankfully it died on the warning track.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz also had two hits each for the Red Sox.
Boston will look to get another winning streak started tomorrow night as Josh Beckett (1-2) faces Nick Blackburn (0-1) at 8:10 p.m. on NESN.