Postgame, Twins 9-2: We will have a little more on the site regarding the Terry Francona ejection, Dustin Pedroia's slump and the awful night in general, but a closing note on the bullpen/pitching situation.
With Tim Wakefield used up for a few days and Alfredo Aceves in the same boat, the Red Sox are without their two long men for some time. Matt Albers, Rich Hill, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon would have to do the job if there's another short start, unless the team makes another move.
As of right now, that isn't likely.
"We’re OK," manager Terry Francona said. "Guys have had a couple of days under their belts [since the 13-inning game two nights ago]. Albers gets two days after that 40-pitch outing. We're OK."
That pins a ton on Clay Buchholz, the starter Saturday. He goes opposite lefty Brian Duensing in a 1:10 p.m. game. We will be following all the action right here, so keep it bookmarked, or whatever it is you do to remind yourself to check in. Thanks for following tonight.
Final, Twins 9-2: The Red Sox clubhouse was a pretty lively place a few days ago. After little sleep and three straight losses, it may be a bit more like a morgue.
Heading down to get some feedback on the slide, as well as Terry Francona's take on his ejection.
By the way, a perfect game going in St. Louis.
Mid 9th, Twins 9-2: Joe Nathan is on to pitch the ninth for the Twins. He lost his closer's job earlier in the year but can at least get the sensation of finishing a game here.
Minnesota is going to fall short of becoming the fourth team to score at least 10 runs against the Red Sox. Boston has yet to reach that number, the longest such streak to start a year in franchise history.
End 8th, Twins 9-2: This Dustin Pedroia slump is becoming a bit troubling. He is now 6-for-53 since April 22 with 15 strikeouts after fanning to end the eighth and stranding two runners in scoring position.
Pedroia's average has fallen 98 points in that span. He is flailing at a ton of pitches, many on the outer half (harder to flail at pitches on the inner half, but you get my point). Just all out of sorts right now.
Mid 8th, Twins 9-2: Alfredo Aceves has retired seven straight and has now gone as long as Scott Atchison did yesterday (3 2/3 innings).
Not a good sign when the biggest positive you can take out of two straight games is how well your mop-up men performed.
Scott Baker is out there to pitch the eighth. He has three career complete games. With a quick eighth he may get a chance at a fourth.
End 7th, Twins 9-2: To put it into the common phrasing of one Terry Francona, Scott Baker has to be "feeling pretty good about himself right now."
Funny to think about that, considering Francona is in his office downing TUMS about now.
Baker has thrown 88 pitches, 62 for strikes. Pounding the zone and getting very weak contact from a Red Sox lineup that isn't putting up much of a fight.
Despite the low pitch count, the Twins have two up in their pen. So, the Sox have them right where they want them.
Mid 7th, Twins 9-2: And on their seventh attempt, Red Sox pitching enjoys a 1-2-3 inning.
This game is looking like a wash. If you can find the Braves-Phillies game, do so. Sorry, my employers wouldn't like that, but holy cow what a pitching matchup. Derek Lowe lost a no-hitter in the seventh. Cliff Lee has 16 Ks.
Alas, both may be out by the time you find the channel.
And, as always, keep it here for your Red Sox updates.
End 6th, Twins 9-2: The Red Sox have two errors, two balks by two pitchers, two home runs and have hit into two double plays. They remain stuck on two runs after a quick sixth.
Mid 6th, Twins 9-2: How's this for a trip around the bases?
Trevor Plouffe stepped up with a man on first and nobody out in the sixth. He grounded to short, inducing a force at second.
Plouffe then stole second and took third on Jed Lowrie's error on the throw (second error in as many innings for Lowrie). Then, in keeping with a theme, he scored on a balk by Alfredo Aceves.
You will recall Tim Wakefield allowed a run to come in from third on a balk in the second, a call that got Terry Francona tossed.
A whole lot of ugliness here as the Sox are looking at a 3-5 record on this homestand unless they can mount a pretty serious rally.
The Twins kept up the pressue after the latest balk and had runners on the corners with two outs. Adrian Gonzalez then made a remarkable play diving to his right, and then flipping to Aceves covering while still sitting on his rear. Gonzalez did land hard in his shoulder (the surgically repaired one). Instead of catching the customary throw from the dugout after the inning with his glove, he did so with his hand.
Something to keep an eye on, although he is getting ready to hit.
8:48 p.m.: By the way, Derek Lowe has a no-hitter through six in Philadelphia.
I was a fan at the Lowe no-hitter at Fenway back in 2002. Came with three friends, one of whom went to the bathroom and never came back. Was too bleeped to make it back, and missed out on history. I keep some quality friends.
End 5th, Twins 8-2: The Red Sox go 1-2-3 in the fifth (all strikeouts) and have now been outscored 21-2 over a span of 15 innings in their home park. Yikes.
Give some credit to Scott Baker. Pitching a nice game so far. Just two mistake pitches to J.D. Drew and Adrian Gonzalez.
Mid 5th, Twins 8-2: Don't say I didn't warn you guys of this kind of a hangover. The Sox could feel the effects of the Wednesday-Thursday debacle for some time, and the Twins are a rested bunch due for some wins.
Alfredo Aceves came on to get the first man he faced and should've been out of the inning, but a grounder got under the glove of Jed Lowrie and two runs scored. E6, and a bad one.
8:27 p.m.: As predicted a few innings ago, we have our Alfredo Aceves sighting. Tim Wakefield gave up a walk, two singles and a double in the fifth, good enough for two runs.
Wakefield is responsible for men at second and third with just one out. Twins up 6-2.
End 4th, Twins 4-2: That Adrian Gonzalez blast is all the Red Sox get in the fourth. J.D. Drew grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Gonzalez took a slider the other way and smacked it off the Sports Authority sign in the middle of the Monster seats. His first of that variety, and third of the year.
8:14 p.m.: Adrian Gonzalez has hit his first home run over the Green Monster, the type of blast many predicted of him when he came to the Sox. It was a solo shot leading off the bottom of the fourth.
Mid 4th, Twins 4-1: A fantastic diving catch by Jacoby Ellsbury ends the fourth, the first inning in which Tim Wakefield has faced the minimum.
A double play helped in that process, as Drew Butera led off with a single.
End 3rd, Twins 4-1: Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 15 games (career high is 22) with a one-out single, but is thrown out trying to steal second.
That is the fourth time in 12 attempts in which Ellsbury has been caught stealing. Twins catcher Drew Butera has nailed 6-of-13 (46 percent) this year and 44 percent in his career.
Dustin Pedroia followed with another strikeout, his eighth of the month already.
By the way, hearing from some esteemed colleagues that an argument of a balk call is an immediate ejection. That would be why Francona was tossed lickety split.
Mid 3rd, Twins 4-1: Tim Wakefield has issued three walks, including one to lead off the last two innings. The latest doesn't do any damage except to make him throw a few more pitches, as the knuckleballer retires the next three in order.
The ejection by Francona is the 31st of his career. And yes, the Joe West-Angel Hernandez crew often finds, or creates, controversy. It will be interesting to hear/see what happens in the wake of this one.
End 2nd, Twins 4-1: The place was still buzzing over Terry Francona's ejection when J.D. Drew homered to right to snap out of a 1-for-20 funk.
Poor Drew. Even when he does something it gets overwhelmed by everything else that's going on.
So now it's up to DeMarlo Hale (with Francona just down the tunnel to help, I'm sure) to figure out how long to stick with Tim Wakefield. Remember, he was pulled after 79 pitches his last time out, despite the fact that he was rolling through the Mariners lineup.
If they can get five out of Wakefield, that will be a positive.
Mid 2nd, Twins 4-0: Tim Wakefield gave up a two-run single and then balked in a run, leading to a wild argument by Terry Francona. He was given a quick heave-ho, and had to be held back to not get at Angel Hernandez.
Denard Span hit a single past Adrian Gonzalez to make it 3-0. Span was then picked off at first, but by the time Wakefield got to the dugout, he realized that home plate umpire Angel Hernandez had called a balk.
With a runner at third, it gave Minnesota a fourth run. Francona flew out of the dugout and was extremely fired up, with good cause. Hard to see what Hernandez was calling.
Francona was restrained by crew chief Joe West, with whom he made plenty of contact. There could be some discipline handed out there. The Red Sox manager said just yesterday he hates the explanations he gets on balks and feels they are way too vague in how they are called. He let Hernandez know that right there, finishing the fight by tossing his chaw or gum in Hernandez's direction.
7:33 p.m.: Twins have loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles. Another short start would really hurt. Expect Alfredo Aceves at some point in this game to do what Scott Atchison did yesterday.
If that occurs, then you don't have Aceves or Wakefield for a few days in the bullpen. Perhaps another move would need to take place just to have a long man available.
Maybe I'm getting way too ahead of myself. Thinking out loud. They pay me for that, which is great.
7:31 p.m.: Andre Ethier already extended his hitting streak to 30 tonight. Time to really start getting behind that one.
End 1st, Twins 1-0: In his first four games this month, Dustin Pedroia had seven strikeouts against just one walk.
Remember, this is one of the rare guys who annually draws more, or close to as many, walks as he does strike out.
In the first, Pedroia was on the positive side of that ratio, drawing a bases on balls with one out. He is left right there when Adrian Gonzalez flies to left and Kevin Youkilis grounds out.
Youkilis bruised his left hand in Thursday's game and needed an exam after the contest. Terry Francona said he was fine.
Mid 1st, Twins 1-0: Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe has seen four pitches at the major league level this year.
The first was a knuckleball for a strike, the second a knuckleball for a ball, the third a knuckleball for a strike and the fourth a knuckleball for a home run to left.
Indeed, in Plouffe's first plate appearance of the season (he was recalled earlier this week), he goes deep on Tim Wakefield to give the Twins an early lead.
Things could've been a bit worse for Wakefield if not for some nice defensive positioning by the Sox. Wakefield walked Justin Morneau on five pitches following Plouffe's shot, but got Jason Kubel to hit into a double play. The ball was grounded right to Kevin Youkilis, who was shifted well to his left. He threw to second base, where shortstop Jed Lowrie stepped on the bag and threw to first. Lowrie had also been shifted to his left, so was on the bag by the time Youkilis fielded it.
7:07 p.m.: When Tim Wakefield steps to the mound in a minute or so, he will be three days younger than Deacon McGuire was when he played his final game for the Red Sox.
Why is that important? Well, nobody in team history was older than McGuire was (44 years, 280 days) when he last wore the uniform.
So, whenever Wakefield recovers from this start and makes a relief appearance (or another start) he will officially be the oldest player in the history of the franchise.
Just a reminder, the Sox are on NESNplus tonight. The Bruins pregame begins at 7:00 on NESN. If you need to find your NESnplus channel, click here. And for all the inside analysis, check out Doug Flynn's live blog.
As promised, here are the Twins:
Denard Span, CF
Trevor Plouffe, SS
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Danny Valencia, 3B
Ben Revere, LF
Drew Butera, C
Alexi Casilla, 2B
4:49 p.m.: One wall of the Red Sox clubhouse contains a row of lockers almost exclusively reserved for relievers. Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester are at one end, Daisuke Matsuzaka at another, and aside from Clay Buchholz the rest are all boys from the bullpen.
This week, that area has been rather tumultuous. As expected, Alfredo Aceves has been recalled from Pawtucket, with Scott Atchison being sent back down. Atchison saved the Sox with his effort Thursday, but he was going to be useless for a few days, and with Wakefield pitching tonight the bullpen needed some help.
Enter Aceves, who actually seemed a bit bothered by the back and forth. Or maybe we just caught him at a bad time. Will have more on him in a bit, once we transcribe a few quotes.
Terry Francona's take on what happened with Atchison: "We did what we didn't want to do with Atchison. He gave us so much. At the same time, he wasn't going to pitch for awhile. He'll be back."
In other pitching news, the rotation going forward looks like this: Clay Buchholz on Saturday, Daisuke Matsuzaka on Sunday, Josh Beckett on Monday, Jon Lester on Tuesday and John Lackey on Wednesday. That would line Buchholz up to pitch the opner in New York next Friday.
This is the fourth (or is it fifth?) rotation shuffle of the season already, which basically shows how the Opening Day nod is purely symbolic.
Lester is such a strong guy and never really needs time to rest, but he will be the one benefitting from this latest shuffle. It will be a full week between starts when he takes the mound in Toronto on Tuesday.
Basically, the team is taking advantage of everything wrought by the disastrous Wed/Thurs 13-inning loss. It gave them a chance to bring back a very fresh Beckett on normal rest, plop Matsuzaka into Sunday's spot and bump Lester back a couple of days.
"Now we have a chance to give Lester a little more rest," Francona said. "Trying to kill all the birds with one stone."
Back in a bit with more.
3:15 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where a few Red Sox players, including the slumping Dustin Pedroia, are out taking some early batting practice under a relatively cloudless sky.
Pedroia is back in the lineup after a day off. Here is the full batting order:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8 a.m.: Tim Wakefield gets another crack at his 180th win with the Boston Red Sox when they begin a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins on Friday at Fenway.
With Daisuke Matsuzaka bumped to Sunday due to a relief outing on Wednesday, Wakefield will be called upon to make a start for the second time this month. He opened May with 5 2/3 strong innings in a 3-2 win over Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners.
Boston could use a similar effort after two straight games in which the bullpen was utilized heavily. John Lackey was reached for eight runs in four-plus innings in the 11-0 loss to the Angels on Thursday afternoon.
Scott Baker, winless in three career starts versus Boston, is on the mound for Minnesota, which is coming off a two-game sweep in Chicago that featured Francisco Liriano's no-hitter. Liriano is scheduled to pitch in the series finale Monday.
The Red Sox have won seven in a row at Fenway against the Twins.
First pitch for this one is set for 7:10 p.m.