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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Red Sox Sweep a 3-Game Series With Twins By Scoring 5 Total Runs

It was a complete grind, from the first inning on Monday night until the 10th inning this afternoon but the Red Sox somehow managed to sweep the Twins thanks to a thrilling 2-1 victory at Fenway Park in 10 innings. For the first time in franchise history, Boston (34-38 overall, 20-19 home) hit back-to-back homers in extra innings. David Ortiz tied it with his 16th of the season then Mike Napoli followed with a blast to center that just got out for his seventh of the season and ended it.

I can't ever recall a team playing worse offensively in a series than what Minnesota (32-38 overall, 17-21 away) turned in this week. After getting shut out on Monday, they managed only single runs on Tuesday and today. Red Sox fans were treated to a perfect baseball game: 86 degrees, 1:35 p.m. start and it only went 2 hours and 31 minutes. The win pulled Boston four games under .500 and just four games back in the Wild Card (yes it's mid-June) which makes me puke but hey, it's progress (5-2 homestand).

John Lackey was superb again, he went nine shutout innings, allowing only three hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. For whatever reason, Boston can never seem to score runs when he's on the mound this season similar to what happened with Jon Lester a few seasons ago. Lackey didn't factor into the decision but his ERA dipped to 2.96. I never thought I'd say this but he deserves to be an All-Star if he keeps this up.

Coming into a scoreless game in the 10th proved to be Koji Uehara's (2-1) kryptonite: he allowed a solo homer for the immortal Chris Parmelee (3 for 4). What made it even more strange is that he got the first two outs including a strikeout before Parmelee took him deep to right field. So he probably didn't deserve the win based on today's performance but call it a gift from his otherwise flawless campaign.

Twins youngster Kyle Gibson pitched about as well he you can if you're not named Clayton Kershaw. In seven innings, he allowed only one hit with eight strikeouts and no walks. I have no clue why Minnesota didn't use their solid closer Glen Perkins in the tenth when they had the 1-0 lead. He hadn't worked the last few nights but instead, Casey Fien (3-4) turned into the sacrificial lamb who allowed both bombs.

The Red Sox won't play at Fenway again until June 30 vs. Cubs. Before that, they have a grueling 10-game road trip covering Oakland (4 games), Seattle (3 games) and New York (3 games). All three of those teams are over .500 (yes even the Mariners) while the A's (44-28) have the best record in baseball and look the part. Boston took two of three at home against Oakland in the beginning of May but I feel like they always struggle on the West Coast.

Jake Peavy (1-4) faces Scott Kazmir (8-2, seriously) tomorrow night (10:05, NESN), Felix Doubront (2-4) returns on Friday (10:05, NESN) to face Jesse Chavez (6-4), Rubby De La Rosa (2-2) takes on Brad Mills (0-0) who makes his A's debut on Saturday afternoon (4:05, NESN) and Jon Lester (8-7) closes it out on Sunday afternoon (4:05, NESN) vs. Tommy Milone (5-3).

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