Final, Twins 4-3: Aaron Hicks entered the game hitting .167. He was 0-for-3 with a walk going into his 10th-inning at-bat.
None of that mattered.
Hicks lined a two-out RBI single into left field to give the Twins their second walk-off win over the Red Sox in three days.
Andrew Miller, who surrendered a walk-off home run to Chris Parmelee on Tuesday, also suffered the loss Wednesday. Hicks’ game-winning single was set up by a one-out double from Kurt Suzuki.
The Red Sox forced extra innings by producing two runs in the ninth inning. Will Middlebrooks delivered a two-run single with two outs in the ninth off Twins closer Glen Perkins.
Clay Buchholz struggled again for Boston. The right-hander only allowed three earned runs, but he surrendered 10 hits over his six innings, marking the third time this season he has given up at least 10 hits.
The Red Sox now will return home for three games against the Detroit Tigers. Jon Lester and Max Scherzer will square off in Friday’s series opener at Fenway Park.
Mid 10th, 3-3: The Red Sox couldn’t generate any offense against Brian Duensing in the 10th inning.
Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts began the 10th with flyouts to center field and right field, respectively.
Aaron Hooks initially turned the wrong way on Pedroia’s fly ball before recovering, and Chris Parmelee needed to retreat to the warning track in order to retire Bogaerts.
Duensing inexplicably walked Jonathan Herrera, who pinch ran for David Ortiz in the ninth inning, to set up a showdown with Mike Napoli. The Twins reliever survived, though, as Napoli couldn’t hold up on a 2-2 slider in the dirt.
Andrew Miller will come back out for a second inning of work.
End 9th, 3-3: What’s better than day baseball? Free day baseball.
Andrew Miller worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning, and the Red Sox and Twins will head to extra innings at Target Field.
Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Herrera are scheduled to bat in the 10th inning.
Mid 9th, 3-3: Will Middlebrooks had a tough afternoon at the plate until the ninth inning. The third baseman shot a two-run single into right field with two outs to tie the game 3-3.
David Ortiz led off with a single against Twins closer Glen Perkins. Ortiz then was lifted for a pinch-runner in Jonathan Herrera, capping an impressive series for Big Papi.
Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp delivered a pair of one-out singles to load the bases for David Ross, who struck out swinging.
Middlebrooks wasn’t ready to call it a day. He jumped on the first pitch he saw and sent it into right field for a game-tying single.
Andrew Miller, who surrendered a walk-off home run Tuesday, will pitch the ninth inning for Boston.
End 8th, Twins 3-1: Chris Capuano was tasked with keeping Boston’s deficit at two runs. He succeeded in that job.
Capuano issued a two-out walk to Brian Dozier, but it only delayed the left-hander from finishing a scoreless inning.
Capuano picked off Dozier at first base to send the game into the ninth inning with the Twins leading 3-1.
David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes are due up against Twins closer Glen Perkins in the ninth inning.
Mid 8th, Twins 3-1: The Red Sox will need a ninth-inning rally to avoid dropping two of three to the Twins.
Casey Fien shut down Boston in the eighth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr., Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts couldn’t muster up anything.
Bradley and Pedroia flied out. Bogaerts, who saw 14 pitches in his last at-bat, swung at the first pitch and popped it into shallow left-center field.
End 7th, Twins 3-1: Craig Breslow has come into his own of late. The lefty tossed a scoreless seventh inning.
Breslow began his appearance by striking out Chris Colabello. Colabello, who is 0-for-4, has fanned twice.
Jason Kubel walked, but it represented just a minor hiccup for Breslow, who retired Kurt Suzuki and Chris Parmelee.
The book officially is closed on Clay Buchholz, who currently is on the hook for the loss. Buchholz gave up three earned runs on 10 hits over six innings. He struck out six, walked three and threw 107 pitches (68 strikes).
Buchholz surrendered 10 or more hits in a game three times from 2009 through 2013. He already has done it three times in 2014.
Mid 7th, Twins 3-1: The seventh was a very uncharacteristic inning for the Red Sox’s offense.
Jared Burton, who took over after six innings by Twins starter Phil Hughes, needed just six pitches to work a perfect frame.
Mike Carp, David Ross and Will Middlebrooks scattered three flyouts versus Burton.
Craig Breslow will pitch the seventh inning for Boston.
End 6th, Twins 3-1: An overturned call kept the sixth inning alive for Minnesota. But the second life was brief.
Eduardo Escobar doubled with one out in the sixth. The Red Sox then opted to intentionally walk Joe Mauer with first base open.
It looked like Buchholz and the Red Sox were out of the inning when David Ross fired a snap throw down to first base. But the Twins challenged the play, and the umpires correctly overturned the initial call.
Ross’ throw was there in plenty of time to nab Mauer. Mike Napoli couldn’t get the tag down, though, and Mauer sneaked in his hand.
Buchholz instead finished the inning by striking out Trevor Plouffe.
Mid 6th, Twins 3-1: Phil Hughes’ afternoon appears to be over, as the right-hander is receiving some handshakes in the Twins’ dugout. If so, it was a job well done.
Hughes capped his outing with a 1-2-3 sixth inning. David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes went down in order.
Gomes struck out swinging, giving Hughes eight K’s in the game. Hughes gave up five hits and didn’t walk anyone.
End 5th, Twins 3-1: It’s amazing Clay Buchholz has limited the Twins to just three runs.
Minnesota put two more runners on base in the fifth inning but again came up empty against Buchholz.
Buchholz followed a leadoff walk by striking out Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel. The right-hander made quick work of both, striking out Colabello and Kubel on three pitches and four pitches, respectively.
Kurt Suzuki singled into right field with two outs to keep the inning alive, but Buchholz got Chris Parmelee to pop to Will Middlebrooks to end the threat.
Mid 5th, Twins 3-1: Xander Bogaerts left a runner in scoring position in the fifth inning, but it wasn’t before a very impressive at-bat by the Red Sox rookie.
Phil Hughes appeared to be on his way to another clean inning. He struck out Will Middlebrooks on a fastball foul tipped into Kurt Suzuki’s mitt and then got Jackie Bradley Jr. to chase a 1-2 curveball in the dirt.
Dustin Pedroia lengthened the inning with a double over Jason Kubel’s head in left field, and Bogaerts really made Hughes work before the Twins right-hander got the shortstop to lift a lazy fly ball to left field.
Bogaerts put together a 14-pitch at-bat. It marked the longest plate appearance by a Red Sox player since Kevin Youkilis had a 14-pitch plate appearance against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 25, 2012.
End 4th, Twins 3-1: The Twins have had at least one baserunner in every inning.
Minnesota put two men on base in the fourth inning. Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier connected for back-to-back singles with one out.
Clay Buchholz escaped the fourth inning without any damage inflicted, however, by inducing a 6-4-3 double play.
Bogaerts fielded Joe Mauer’s ground ball and flipped to second base, where Dustin Pedroia made an excellent turn while cutting across the bag. Very impressive effort by the Sox’s middle infield.
Mid 4th, Twins 3-1: The Red Sox struck for a run in the fourth inning.
Xander Bogaerts led off with a single. Phil Hughes then looked as though he’d settle down to keep the Red Sox’s offense in check — retiring David Ortiz and Mike Napoli — but Jonny Gomes dropped a two-out single into center field. Bogaerts took third base.
Mike Carp smoked a ball up the middle with runners at the corners. Second baseman Brian Dozier dived and tried to pick it on the back hand, but the ball deflected off his glove. Bogaerts trotted home on Carp’s RBI single.
Hughes prevented any additional damage by striking out David Ross.
End 3rd, Twins 3-0: Clay Buchholz looked sharper in the third inning despite surrendering a hit.
Buchholz rebounded from Jason Kubel’s one-out single to strike out Kurt Suzuki and Chris Parmelee.
Both Suzuki and Parmelee went down looking. Suzuki didn’t offer at a curveball, and Parmelee was frozen by a fastball that caught the corner.
Mid 3rd, Twins 3-0: Phil Hughes has taken care of business thus far.
David Ross singled on a comebacker that deflected off Hughes and shortstop Eduardo Escobar before ending up in center field.
Hughes shut down the Red Sox’s offense from there, handling Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia without much additional noise.
Middlebrooks and Bradley struck out. Middlebrooks went down swinging on a fastball, and Bradley foul tipped a cutter into the catcher’s mitt.
Pedroia ended the inning with a lazy fly ball to center field.
End 2nd, Twins 3-0: Clay Buchholz’s day already has taken a turn for the worse.
Buchholz gave up three runs on four hits and a walk in the second inning. The right-hander surrendered a two-run homer to Chris Parmelee, who launched a walk-off blast Tuesday night.
Kurt Suzuki started the big inning with a single to the left side. Will Middlebrooks looked to make a diving play, but the ball deflected off his glove and into left field.
Parmelee then jumped on a 1-1 changeup from Buchholz and cleared the fence in right-center field for a two-run homer.
Buchholz followed with a six-pitch walk to Aaron Hicks, who entered the game hitting .167. Hicks took third base when Eduardo Escobar singled into left field, and he scored when Brian Dozier lifted a sacrifice fly to right field.
Jonny Gomes got himself into a good position on Dozier’s fly ball, but his throw was horrendous. It was weak and didn’t go anywhere near the plate, and thus Hicks scored easily.
Joe Mauer singled before Buchholz finally closed off the inning.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Phil Hughes has retired the first six batters he has faced.
Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp went down without much of a fuss in the second inning.
Napoli popped out to second base, Gomes flied out to right field and Carp struck out looking.
The wind — which was blowing at 16 mph from left to right at game time — has been a factor in the early going, although it hasn’t yet led to any defensive miscues.
End 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz worked around a one-out single to complete a scoreless first inning.
Joe Mauer singled into center field, but Buchholz stayed the course and retired Trevor Plouffe and Chris Colabello.
Plouffe struck out swinging on a nice-looking cutter in the zone.
Colabello hit a popup into shallow right field that the wind played with a bit before Jonny Gomes made the catch.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Phil Hughes worked a 1-2-3 inning to begin his afternoon.
Hughes retired Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz in order. Retiring Ortiz is a feat itself given Big Papi’s recent tear.
Pedroia, Bogaerts and Ortiz all put the ball in the air.
1:12 p.m.: Phil Hughes tosses a first-pitch strike. Day baseball is underway in Minnesota.
12:05 p.m.: Grady Sizemore’s absence from the lineup versus a right-hander likely is more a product of the Red Sox playing a day game after a night game, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that Mike Carp has enjoyed more success against Phil Hughes.
Sizemore is 0-for-6 in his career versus Hughes, whereas Carp is 5-for-10 with a home run, a double, three walks and two RBIs in 13 career plate appearances against the Twins right-hander.
Jonny Gomes is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in three career plate appearances versus Hughes.
David Ortiz (27 plate appearances) has faced Hughes more than anyone on the Red Sox besides Dustin Pedroia (30 plate appearances), and the odds are in Big Papi’s favor as he looks to continue his torrid pace. Ortiz has a .409 average, .481 on-base percentage, two homers, three doubles and seven RBIs against Hughes.
Ortiz, who has four homers in two games this series, has hit .350 (75-for-214) with 19 home runs, 18 doubles and 49 RBIs against the Twins since joining the Red Sox before the 2003 season. He has nine home runs in 13 career games at Target Field, and he enters Thursday’s finale hitting .552 (16-for-29) with five home runs and eight RBIs over his current seven-game hitting streak.
11:55 a.m.: The Red Sox have shuffled their lineup with Thursday’s day game after a night game.
Shane Victorino will get the day off. Grady Sizemore, who reached base three times Wednesday night, also will begin Thursday’s matinee showdown on the bench despite the Twins trotting out a right-hander in Phil Hughes.
Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp will man right field and left field, respectively. If nothing else, that definitely will force center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to cover even more ground than usual.
Xander Bogaerts will slide up into the two-hole in Victorino’s absence. Bogaerts has struggled for much of May, but he collected a couple of hits in Wednesday’s win and has begun to show improvement over his last three contests.
David Ross will start behind the dish despite rolling his ankle Tuesday during batting practice.
Thursday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (20-19)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, RF
Mike Carp, LF
David Ross, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Clay Buchholz, RHP (2-3, 6.44 ERA)
Minnesota Twins (18-20)
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Chris Colabello, 1B
Jason Kubel, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Chris Parmelee, RF
Aaron Hicks, CF
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Phil Hughes, RHP (4-1, 3.92 ERA)
11:30 a.m. ET: Clay Buchholz almost was part of a no-hitter the last time he took the mound. Unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox, it was Buchholz’s opponent, Yu Darvish, who flirted with the no-no.
Darvish’s no-hit bid against the Red Sox on Friday actually overshadowed a lackluster performance by Buchholz, who had begun to make strides in his previous two starts. Buchholz was taxed for six earned runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings while suffering the loss.
Buchholz enters Thursday’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins with an ugly 6.44 ERA. While Boston’s starting pitching has been strong as a whole, Buchholz certainly has underperformed, and the Red Sox need the right-hander to get on track for the club’s rotation to reach its maximum potential.
Buchholz will face Phil Hughes on Thursday at Target Field. Hughes tossed seven shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers and has really righted the ship after a rough start to his first season in Minnesota. Hughes, whose ERA sat at 7.20 after three starts, enters Thursday’s contest with a 4-1 record and 3.92 ERA.
Thursday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com.