Red Sox-Twins Live: John Lackey’s Error Proves Costly As Twins Take Series Finale 5-3

Daniel NavaFinal, Twins 5-3: Glen Perkins twice received the benefit of the inside corner in the ninth inning, and it squashed any rally the Red Sox had in them.

Jacoby Ellsbury worked a seven-pitch walk to lead off the final frame, but home plate umpire Lance Barksdale rung up both Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia on pitches inside for the first two outs. David Ortiz then capped off his second straight disappointing performance by lining out to first base to end the game.

The big blow to Boston came in the sixth inning. Trevor Plouffe hit a bouncer back to John Lackey with runners at first and second. Lackey turned and fired to second in order to start a double play, but his toss sailed into center field. That paved the way for a four-run inning and ultimately ruined what had been a good outing for Lackey to that point.

Jacoby Ellsbury finished the game 0-for-4, and David Ortiz went 0-for-5 for the second straight night.

The Red Sox were riding high going into their weekend series in Texas, but they’ve stumbled ever since. The Sox have lost six of their last seven.

The Red Sox will look to rebound on Friday when they host the last-place Blue Jays. Jon Lester will get the start against Ramon Ortiz, and the game’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

Good night, everyone.

Mid 9th, Twins 5-3: Will Middlebrooks committed an error in the eighth inning, but Craig Breslow made sure Minnesota’s lead stayed at two runs.

Following Middlebrooks’ throwing miscue, which allowed Ryan Doumit to reach, Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and Eduardo Escobar all grounded out softly.

The Red Sox will need to rally in the ninth inning. The top of the order is due up.

End 8th, Twins 5-3: The Red Sox threatened a bit in the eighth inning, but they came away empty-handed, meaning they’ll need some ninth-inning magic in order to stay alive in this one.

The threat was mostly created by Eduardo Escobar, who entered the game as Minnesot’s new shortstop when Pedro Florimon exited with a leg injury. After Daniel Nava walked with one out, Will Middlebrooks hit what should have been a tailor made double play. Escobar mishandled the ground ball, though, and everyone was safe.

Fortunately for the Twins, Jared Burton buckled down following the error. Burton struck out Stephen Drew looking and then Mike Carp — who pinch-hit for David Ross — swinging to escape the jam.

Craig Breslow will start the top of the ninth for Boston.

Mid 8th, Twins 5-3: The Red Sox would ideally like to use Koji Uehara when ahead, but the energetic righty was very impressive while pitching behind in the eighth.

Uehara struck out the side after taking over for John Lackey, who went the first seven innings. Making Uehara’s eighth-inning effort even more impressive was that it happened against the middle of Minnesota’s order.

Uehara’s strikeout victims were Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe. All went down swinging. Willingham fanned at a nasty splitter, while Morneau and Plouffe had trouble catching up to Uehara’s sneaky quick fastball.

Lackey’s book is closed after seven frames and 102 pitches (74 strikes). He gave up five runs — although only one was earned — on six hits. He struck out eight and walked one, but it’s his costly throwing error in the sixth inning that threw this game into a tailspin for Boston.

End 7th, Twins 5-3: Dustin Pedroia worked a two-out walk in the seventh, but David Ortiz’s loud out capped off a scoreless inning.

Brian Duensing came back out to pitch the seventh for Minnesota, and he started the inning by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, who went down looking at a breaking ball, is 0-for-4 in this game and 2-for-12 in the series, which brings his season average to .263.

Shane Victorino popped out for the second out before Pedroia earned a free pass on five pitches.

David Ortiz, who had his 27-game hit streak snapped with an 0-for-5 performance on Wednesday, drilled a line drive to center that Aaron Hicks hauled in to end the inning. Ortiz, like Ellsbury, is 0-for-4 in this game.

Mid 7th, Twins 5-3: John Lackey’s night will ultimately be defined by Minnesota’s four-run sixth inning, which was aided by the pitcher’s costly throwing error. Outside of that inning, though, Lackey pitched pretty well.

Lackey enjoyed a 1-2-3 frame in the seventh. He retired Pedro Florimon on a bunt attempt, got Brian Dozier to ground out to third base and then struck out Joe Mauer swinging.

Mauer has struck out three times in this game. In the seventh, his K came on a cutter.

That will likely be the evening for Lackey, as he’s up to 102 pitches and Koji Uehara is warming up in the bullpen.

End 6th, Twins 5-3: Brian Duensing came on and ended the sixth inning by retiring Stephen Drew and David Ross.

Drew’s out was rather loud, as he smoked a line drive to left field. Josh Willingham ran back and made the catch just before the warning track. Ross struck out to end things.

Kevin Correia’s pitching line is now official. He went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on nine hits. He struck out one and didn’t walk anybody.

9:07 p.m., Twins 5-3: Mike Napoli kicked off the home half of the sixth inning with a double, and he came around to score when Daniel Nava singled into right field.

Will Middlebrooks grounded into a 6-4 force out, and the Twins will make a pitching change. Brian Duensing will take over for the starter, Kevin Correia.

Mid 6th, Twins 5-2: The complexion of this game changed in a heartbeat.

Joe Mauer led off the sixth inning with a single, and Justin Morneau walked two batters later to set up runners at first and second with one out. John Lackey then killed his own start with a costly miscue.

Trevor Plouffe bounced a ball right back to Lackey, who fielded it and fired to second base in an effort to start the double play. It would have been a huge twin killing, only Lackey’s throw sailed into center field. Mauer scored to tie the game, Morneau advanced to third base and Plouffe reached as a result.

That was only the beginning of the nightmare, though.

Ryan Doumit lifted a fly ball to right field. Shane Victorino, who leads the Red Sox with four outfield assists, made the play and delivered a perfect strike to David Ross at the plate. The umpire ruled that Morneau slid under Ross’ tag, though, and the Twins grabbed a 3-2 lead.

It got worse from there. Oswaldo Arcia, who tripled to help Minnesota grab a run in the fifth inning, drilled a two-run home run into the bullpen. The Twins now hold a 5-2 advantage. All four of their runs in the sixth inning were unearned.

While the Red Sox’ offense and pitching received a lot of praise early on this season, the defense was also fantastic. That hasn’t been the case of late, though, and it has cost them big time.

End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: We got to see some Dustin Pedroia hustle in the fifth inning. Actually, it was really a combination of hustle and a lackadaisical play by third baseman Trevor Plouffe that allowed Pedroia to reach with two outs.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off by grounding out to second, and Shane Victorino was retired for the first time on a fly out to left.

Pedroia then hit a slow roller to the left side with two outs. Plouffe cut in front of shortstop Pedro Florimon to make the play, but his throw had no zip on it whatsoever, and Pedroia was able to beat out the lollipop toss to keep the inning going.

David Ortiz followed up by making solid contact, but his missile down to first was picked by Justin Morneau, who continues to play great defense in this series.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Oswaldo Arcia was a thorn in the Red Sox’ side on Wednesday. He’s now making his presence felt in this one.

John Lackey hung a 3-2 breaking ball to Arcia, and the Twins outfielder jumped all over it. Jacoby Ellsbury ran back toward the center-field wall and made a leaping effort. The ball banged off the wall just above Ellsbury’s glove, though, allowing Arcia to motor his way to a triple.

Aaron Hicks almost tied the game by ripping a line drive right down the right-field line. It landed on the warning track near the base of the wall. Hicks thought about going for a triple, but he threw on the brakes after rounding second and settled for an RBI double.

To John Lackey’s credit, the right-hander really bounced back from there. Lackey struck out both Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier to end the inning and strand Hicks in scoring position. Lackey has seven strikeouts thus far.

End 4th, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox made it back-to-back innings with a run by adding to their total in the fourth.

Daniel Nava dropped a one-out single into right field after Mike Napoli led off by grounding out to third base.

Nava moved up to second when Will Middlebrooks hit a little roller past the mound. Shortstop Pedro Florimon charged in to make a barehanded play, and his throw to first was just in time to nail Middlebrooks.

Stephen Drew knocked in Nava with a base hit into center field. Both of Boston’s runs have now come on singles into center.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: A perfect inning was spoiled by a two-out single from Justin Morneau, but John Lackey is still cruising right along.

Lackey struck out the always dangerous Joe Mauer for the second time in the fourth inning. Mauer, who chased a curveball in the dirt in his first at-bat, went down swinging at a four-seamer in his second at-bat.

Josh Willingham grounded to Will Middlebrooks at third base for the second out. Middlebrooks doesn’t seem to be showing any ill effects of the rib injury he suffered on Tuesday, so it’s still unclear why the trainer came out in the third inning.

Morneau then dropped a single into left field. The outfield was shifted over toward right field, and Jonny Gomes also didn’t take a very good route on the ball, which allowed the blooper to drop in.

Lackey ensured the two-out knock didn’t do any damage. He got Trevor Plouffe to fly out to right.

End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Shane Victorino is 2-for-2. His second hit of the game in the third inning paved the way for the game’s first run.

David Ross popped out to his counterpart behind the plate for the first out, and Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to his counterpart in center field for the second out.

Victorino ripped a hot shot down to first base. Justin Morneau leaped in an effort to make the snag, but it ricocheted off his glove and into right field. Victorino, demonstrating his usual baserunning aggressiveness, ended up sliding into second with a double.

Dustin Pedroia drove in Victorino with a single into center.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: John Lackey gave up his first hit of the game in the third inning, but he also turned in another scoreless frame.

Oswaldo Arcia, who racked up four hits on Wednesday, led off with a fly out to left field. It’s unclear how or if Will Middlebrooks tweaked something on the play, but John Farrell and the Red Sox’ trainer came out of the dugout to check on the third baseman. At first, it looked as if they might have been checking on Lackey — since the conversation occurred at the mound — but Middlebrooks seemed to be at the heart of the discussion. In any event, everything is apparently OK, as both players stayed in.

Aaron Hicks stepped into the box with one out, and Lackey fell behind 3-0. The righty battled back, though, and Hicks lined a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. Lackey snagged it out of thin air for out No. 2.

Pedro Florimon singled into center field with two outs and moved up to second on a stolen base, but Lackey ended the inning by getting Brian Dozier to ground out to first base.

End 2nd, 0-0: Will Middlebrooks is back in the lineup. And he’s hitting, which is something he’s struggled with so far this season.

Middlebrooks lined a two-out double into the left-center field gap. The two-bagger followed up a ground out from Mike Napoli and a fly out from Daniel Nava.

Stephen Drew threatened to give the Red Sox an early lead by yanking one to the right side. Justin Morneau made a nice diving stop, though, and he flipped to Kevin Correia, who was covering the bag, for the inning’s final out.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: It was another impressive inning for John Lackey in the second.

Lackey has clearly placed an emphasis on pounding the strike zone. He has thrown 21 pitches through two innings, and 17 of them have been strikes. Lackey has delivered first-pitch strikes to five of the six batters he has faced thus far.

Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe and Ryan Doumit went down in order in the second inning. The Red Sox had a hard time keeping that portion of the lineup in check on Wednesday night, so consider it a battle already won for Lackey.

Morneau and Doumit each flied out, and Plouffe struck out swinging. Lackey fanned Plouffe with a 93-mph fastball, and he now has four K’s total.

End 1st, 0-0: Shane Victorino started his night with a one-out single, but the Red Sox were otherwise shut down in the first.

Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to lead off the game, and Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz followed up Victorino’s single with a pair of fly outs.

Ortiz went 0-for-5 on Wednesday to snap his 27-game hit streak, so it’s time to start a new streak. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next time around, though.

Mid 1st, 0-0: John Lackey’s first inning was extremely impressive. The right-hander struck out the side on 11 pitches.

Lackey’s first victim was Brian Dozier. Lackey missed with an 0-2 curveball but then went with a cutter to get Dozier to go down swinging.

For the second out, Lackey struck out Joe Mauer, who fanned at a curveball in the dirt. Mauer very rarely looks foolish at the plate, but Lackey’s deuce really fell off the table.

The inning ended with Lackey sitting down Josh Willingham looking on a pitch right down the pike. You’ve got to get the bat off your shoulder there.

7:10 p.m.: John Lackey’s first pitch is a strike, and we’re under way.

7:08 p.m.: The Red Sox have taken the field, and we’re almost ready for baseball.

6:50 p.m.: The rain has been off and on over the past hour and a half or so. It’s clearing up right now, though, so it looks like we’ll start this one up on time. Hip, hip, hooray!

5:24 p.m.:  There were some brief downpours over at Fenway Park. Now, it appears to just be drizzling a bit. Either way, it’s overcast and the tarp is on the field. Hopefully this all clears up.

5:20 p.m.: While Hanrahan’s injury is the big story over at Fenway, there is a bit of good news for the Red Sox. Will Middlebrooks and David Ross will both be in the starting lineup.

Middlebrooks and Ross left Tuesday’s game after colliding while chasing a popup in foul territory. Both players sat out Wednesday’s game, but neither player’s injury is serious enough to keep him out of Thursday’s contest. Middlebrooks will play third base and bat seventh, while Ross will catch and bat ninth.

The rest of Thursday’s lineups are below.

Red Sox (21-13)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C

John Lackey, RHP (1-2, 3.52 ERA)

Twins (15-15)
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Josh Willingham, LF
Justin Morneau, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Ryan Doumit, DH
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Aaron Hicks, CF
Pedro Florimon, SS

Kevin Correia (3-2, 2.83 ERA)

5:15 p.m.: The Red Sox announced some alarming news. Joel Hanrahan has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list. The reliever was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with a right forearm strain, but it’s apparently much worse than originally anticipated.

Hanrahan will not only miss at least two months, but he is set to visit Dr. James Andrews on Friday. That doesn’t guarantee his season is over, but a visit to Dr. Andrews is never a good sign for a pitcher. Manager John Farrell said he’s still hopeful that Hanrahan can return this season, but the possibility of surgery — perhaps Tommy John — is there.

The Red Sox added pitcher Jose De La Torre to the 40-man roster and then called him up to the majors. Allen Webster was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following Wednesday’s game.

Click here for an opinion on Joel Hanrahan’s injury >>

8 a.m. ET: Wednesday got ugly real fast, and the Red Sox suddenly find themselves struggling to gain traction.

The Twins scored 11 runs in the first two innings on Wednesday en route to a 15-8 victory. Rookie Allen Webster was lit up in his second major league start, and Felix Doubront struggled in 5 1/3 innings of relief. All in all, it was a difficult night to be a Red Sox pitcher.

Following Wednesday’s loss, the Red Sox are now now 21-13. It’s still a very respectable record, but they’ve lost five of their last six games and two of three against the Twins. On Thursday, they’ll send John Lackey to the hill as they try to salvage a split with Minnesota.

Lackey went five innings his last time out in Texas on Saturday. He gave up three runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four. He suffered the loss in that game — as the Red Sox were swept by the Rangers — but he didn’t pitch all that bad. It was the offense that struggled mightily.

The Red Sox’ road isn’t easy right now. They’re a bit banged up, especially in the bullpen. Thursday gives them another chance to right the ship, though. The action is scheduled to kick off at 7:10 p.m. ET.

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