It looked for a short time Thursday like the Boston Red Sox were turning the clock back to 2013.
The Red Sox put together a dramatic comeback in the ninth inning against Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins. Boston appeared on its way to a thrilling victory — something that became a hallmark of the Red Sox’s 2013 World Series run — until Aaron Hicks hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to give Minnesota a 4-3 win.
The Red sox ended their six-game road trip with a 3-3 record. They’ll now return home for three games against the Detroit Tigers with a .500 record (20-20) overall.
This weekend should be an interesting one at Fenway Park, especially with free agents-to-be Jon Lester and Max Scherzer squaring off in Friday’s series opener. But let’s first go over some notes from Thursday’s loss.
— Clay Buchholz still doesn’t look right despite holding the Twins to three runs over six innings.
Buchholz surrendered 10 hits, marking the third time this season the right-hander has allowed 10 or more hits in a single game. He surrendered 10 hits in a game just three times from 2009 through 2013.
“I thought Clay battled,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “… I thought he made a number of big pitches with some men on, particularly in the sixth inning with the strikeout of (Trevor) Plouffe with a couple of men on. A solid outing on his part today.”
Buchholz, who struck out six and walked three while throwing 107 pitches (68 strikes), hardly featured any changeups and acknowledged that he’s still not quite where he wants to be.
— Mike Napoli’s on-base streak was snapped at a career-high 33 games. The first baseman went 0-for-5.
— Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp each collected two hits batting behind Napoli. Carp drove in Boston’s first run in the fourth inning with a rocket in the infield that second baseman Brian Dozier couldn’t handle.
— Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-5 with a run scored out of the No. 2 spot in Boston’s order.
The highlight of Bogaerts’ afternoon, however, was a 14-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning. It ended with a flyout to left field, but it marked the longest plate appearance by a Red Sox player since Kevin Youkilis put together a 14-pitch plate appearance against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 25, 2012.
— Farrell made a curious decision in the ninth inning with the Red Sox trailing 3-1. David Ortiz led off with a single, and Farrell opted to insert Jonathan Herrera as a pinch-runner.
Herrera represented a meaningless run given the two-run deficit, so plugging him in for Ortiz left the Red Sox without their most productive hitter when the game went to extra innings. As fate would have it, Ortiz’s turn in the lineup came up in the 10th inning, although Herrera worked a two-out walk.
— The Red Sox’s ninth-inning rally certainly was one of those moments that evoked flashbacks to last season.
Gomes and Carp delivered back-to-back one-out singles. Then, after David Ross struck out swinging, Will Middlebrooks shot a two-run, game-tying single into right field.
Jackie Bradley Jr. couldn’t give Boston the lead, though. Bradley struck out for the third time with the potential go-ahead run at second base.
It appears there’s still some magic there. The Red Sox are having a hard time using it in the right manner.
— Andrew Miller will want to forget all about this series. Miller, who surrendered a walk-off home run to Chris Parmelee on Tuesday, suffered the loss when Hicks fought off a single into left field to plate Kurt Suzuki with the winning run.