John Lackey Dodges Rain as Red Sox Earn 6-3 Win Over Twins

John Lackey Dodges Rain as Red Sox Earn 6-3 Win Over Twins MINNEAPOLIS — Rain fell on the
Minnesota Twins at home for the first time in 29 years and John Lackey
dampened their bats.

Lackey turned in a second strong start
and Jeremy Hermida gave Boston room with a three-run double in the
eighth inning, leading the Red Sox to a 6-3 win Wednesday in the second
game at Target Field.

Lackey (1-0) lasted 6 2/3 innings for
his first Red Sox victory, lifted early by Marco Scutaro‘s two singles
and Dustin Pedroia‘s RBI double and solo home run.

The crowd of 38,164, more than 1,000
below capacity, rediscovered baseball’s unique relationship with the
weather. Temperature at first pitch was 73 degrees, but raindrops
started to fall in the third and sprinkled the sparkling new ballpark
intermittently over the next four innings.

Some fans went scurrying for the
concourses and others hastily put up their umbrellas, but the rain
brought a cheer and a few chants of “out-door base-ball” in another sign
of the celebration of Minnesota’s move out of the Metrodome to an
open-air facility.

Twins starter Kevin Slowey (1-1)
inched through five, giving up three runs and taking the loss.

Hermida’s bases-clearing hit gave the
Red Sox a 6-2 lead, but the Twins had chances to come back.

The sun came out when Joe Mauer came
to the plate in the seventh, but he was intentionally walked to load the
bases after a passed ball with two outs. Justin Morneau hit a weak
pop-up near the mound to end that threat.

Michael Cuddyer‘s homer and Delmon
Young
‘s double got the eighth off to a strong start, but Daniel Bard
finished the inning without more damage and Jonathan Papelbon worked the
ninth for his third save. He got Cuddyer on a long fly to end the game
with two on.

With Jacoby Ellsbury likely out for
the series while his bruised ribs heal, Scutaro is the replacement
leadoff hitter. He got the Red Sox going right away with sharp singles
in each of the first two innings, scoring on Pedroia’s double in the
first and driving in J.D. Drew in the second. Minnesota tied it in the
third, but Pedroia gave Boston the lead back with his homer to left.

After a sharp start last week in a
win over the Los Angeles Angels, Slowey never found his footing — even
literally in the fifth following Pedroia’s two-out shot.

Slowey gave up a single and a walk
after the homer, prompting pitching coach Rick Anderson to the mound. He
asked the umpires to check the mound, and the grounds crew guys hustled
out for their first critical in-game task.

While they sprinkled fresh dirt on
the front of the mound and behind the plate, Slowey spent a few minutes
cleaning the mud out of his cleats. He got the last out of the inning,
but his day was done with 98 pitches, five hits and four walks.

Lackey looked like he had a little
weather trouble for a bit, too, shaking his hand a few times in the
bottom of the third when the rain really started to fall.

He walked Denard Span on four pitches
and gave up consecutive RBI singles to Orlando Hudson and Mauer, but
he retired Morneau on a long fly to center and settled in after that.

Beginning an $82.5 million, five-year
contract with the Red Sox, Lackey has logged 12 2/3 innings over two
starts with only 10 hits and two runs allowed.

Slumping David Ortiz struck out two
more times for Boston, walking in the third but ending the inning when
he was caught trying a rare steal of second base. He doubled in the
ninth.

Notes
The Red Sox will have RH Boof
Bonser
examined in Boston on Friday. “Just to make sure everything’s
OK,” manager Terry Francona said. Bonser, a former Twins pitcher, gave
up nine runs in two innings during a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket
on Tuesday and had a hard time getting loose. Bonser is on the DL with a
right groin strain, but he missed last season with a shoulder injury.
… The four walks by Slowey tied a career high. Since the start of
2008, the right-hander is second in the majors in fewest walks per nine
innings (1.44 entering the game) behind only Roy Halladay among pitchers
with 250 innings or more. … Francona on faith in Ortiz: “It’s not
fantasy baseball, and it’s not like chess pieces,” he said, adding:
“Guys need time to settle in. If I don’t let ’em settle in, it’s just
going to prolong what we’re going through.” … Span has only five hits
but nine walks through nine games.

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