Postgame, Red Sox 2-1: We will have more from Carl Crawford and some stuff on Hideki Okajima in separate stories. Thought we would leave you with some words from Terry Francona on Alfredo Aceves' second balk in as many games.
It happened in the eighth and helped the Twins tie the game. Francona, who was ejected for arguing a balk call on Tim Wakefield earlier in the series (automatic ejection for such arguments), was invited out for an explanation by first base umpire Angel Hernandez.
"He invited me out. Thought that was cool," Francona said. "Thought he was reeling me in, was gonna throw me out."
All kidding aside, Aceves needs to clean up his act, and quick. He was standing almost open to the plate with a runner on, as if in the windup, but sort of halfway in the stretch, a very awkward look.
"We gotta get Aceves to quit doing that," Francona added. He did that in spring training, [pitching coach Curt Young] talked to him. You don't want to ever invite someone, give them a chance to call something. You don't need to do that. … When you do things out of the ordinary, you're kind of opening a chance for someone to call something."
Aceves became the first Red Sox pitcher to balk in consecutive outings since John Dopson did it in three straight in 1989. Perhaps he'll get a chance to tie the mark in Toronto, where Boston goes to next.
It's a quick two-game series starting Tuesday night with Jon Lester on the mound opposite Kyle Drabek. We will be following all the action right here.
Final, Red Sox 2-1: If you saw it, you need no recap. Great drama at Fenway.
Jose Iglesias ran for Jed Lowrie, who walked. Iglesias scored all the way from first on a double off the wall by Carl Crawford.
Iglesias held up for a moment at second, still not familiar with the quirks of this place, but scored just feet ahead of the relay and was mobbed by teammates as he threw off his helmet.
They then turned their attention to Crawford, who had two of his eight career walk-off hits in this homestand, which Boston finishes 6-5.
Heading down. Back soon.
Mid 11th, 1-1: A disagreement in the press box after the official scorer rules defensive indifference on what Twins PR thinks was a stolen base (Ben Revere took second without a throw with two outs and a man on third in the 11th).
It gives all of us up here a chance to listen to a pretty testy argument, which serves to keep everyone awake, but it becomes a non-issue when Hideki Okajima strikes out Rene Rivera for the last out.
Rich Hill is warming up in the Boston bullpen.It is him and Tim Wakefield left, unless Terry Francona goes back on his decision to not use Daniel Bard and Matt Albers in this one.
Okajima gave up a leadoff single to Justin Morneau, who was run for. The Twins now have no Jason Kubel and no Morneau. Even though Morneau has been struggling, their absence make an already weak lineup downright pathetic.
End 10th, 1-1: Give Jose Mijares and the Twins some credit.
Mijares got himself into a pickle by giving up a one-out double to Dustin Pedroia, who moved to third on a groundout.
Minnesota made the obvious decision to walk Kevin Youkilis to pitch to David Ortiz. Even though Ortiz has crushed lefties early on, it's the right move eight days a week, and pays off when Ortiz grounds to second base.
Hideki Okajima will work the 11th. Rich Hill was already up twice and not used, so he may be unavailable for now. At some point, Daniel Bard has to become available, I would imagine, but Terry Francona wants to stay away from him. Matt Albers may not be available after throwing two innings yesterday and one the day before. What I'm trying to say is there are not many options after Okajima.
The Sox are 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. I'm 1-for-13 in getting a good night's sleep over the last two weeks.
10:34 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia doubles with one out, moves to third on a grounder to second and Kevin Youkilis is intentionally walked.
It will be David Ortiz up against lefty Jose Mijares with runners at the corners and two outs in the 10th.
Mid 10th, 1-1: It gets a bit dicey in the 10th for Hideki Okajima after he walks one man and then has a Denard Span go off of him and roll into foul territory for an infield hit.
With two on and one out, Okajima struck out Matt Tolbert and got Alexi Casilla to ground into a force.
Jose Mijares remains on the mound for Minnesota. He will face Jacoby Ellsbury to lead it off and may stay out until Adrian Gonzalez comes up. Twins closer Matt Capps has been up.
End 9th, 1-1: Jason Varitek reaches with two outs on a throwing error, and Darnell McDonald is on to pinch run.
McDonald, the culprit in the team's worst baserunning blunder of the year earlier in Cleveland, is picked off for the final out (goes as a caught stealing).
Hideki Okajima on to pitch the 10th. Jarrod Saltalamacchia catching him.
Mid 9th, 1-1: Probably a few out there hammering Jonathan Papelbon. It's a waste of breath.
All Papelbon did was lose an eight-pitch battle with one of the league's top hitters and see a weak flare fall into center. And the runner that scored in the eighth reached on an infield hit and was balked to second long before Papelbon came on.
Papelbon works a very quick ninth to get this to the bottom half. Jed Lowrie, Carl Crawford and Jason Varitek are due up against lefty Jose Mijares. Remember, Lowrie murders lefties. Not literally.
End 8th, 1-1: The Red Sox have been hard to figure out, haven't they?
The pitching was horrendous, then great, then a mess (at least in terms of injuries in the pen, etc.).
The offense has had some really nice developments (Gonzalez, Lowrie, Ellsbury's hitting streak) but has consistently left runners on.
The bullpen had its two biggest offseason imports go to the DL after miserable starts to their Red Sox tenure, but others have been very good.
It all adds up to an average team, doesn't it? Not on paper, but in results. Well, they're 5-5 on this homestand and now tied with the Twins heading to the ninth. A 5-6 mark on the longest homestand of the season is not what you want to see. Red Sox teams of the past made hay at Fenway. This year, and for much of last, that has not been the case.
Jonathan Papelbon will pitch the ninth, to the surprise of nobody.
Mid 8th, 1-1: Mentioned earlier how most of the Twins hits off Josh Beckett were bloop singles, never hard contact.
That trend continues in the eighth, as Denard Span reaches on a dribbler to third, advances on a balk and scores on Jason Kubel's soft hit to center off Jonathan Papelbon.
Have to wonder why Daniel Bard was used to get the last three outs of a 9-5 game Sunday, which was his second straight appearance and made him unusable tonight. Alfredo Aceves is no Daniel Bard, even though his numbers are just fine, and he ultimately commits a big mistake with the balk, and it ends up killing the Sox.
9:43 p.m.: As one colleague just said, this homestand needs to end on a long, extra-inning affair. We might get one after the Twins have tied it in the eighth off Johnathan Papelbon.
9:36 p.m.: Alfredo Aceves did his job, sort of. He gets two outs into the eighth but may have distracted Kevin Youkilis enough to let Denard Span reach on an infield hit, and then committed a bad balk for the second straight game.
Anyway, it's Jonathan Papelbon on with a man on second, the tying run, and two outs. Big moment.
End 7th, Red Sox 1-0: Glen Perkins does his job by getting Adrian Gonzalez to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Alfredo Aceves is going to pitch the eighth. Not sure why. Daniel Bard not available? Well, maybe not. He did throw each of the last two days, so I guess they are staying away from him.
9:20 p.m.: The scorching Jason Varitek (5-for-17 last five games…OK, maybe not scorching) led off the seventh with a single and Dustin Pedroia walked with one out.
That was enough for Nick Blackburn, who is removed in favor of Glenn Perkins. Adrian Gonzalez up with a chance to add to the lead.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 1-0: The defense has been superb in support of a very good Josh Beckett.
Beckett gives up a hit for the sixth straight inning, a leadoff single to Michael Cuddyer. He gets the next man, speedy Ben Revere, to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Nice start to the DP by Dustin Pedroia. A lesser man might've been distracted by the runner in his path, but Pedroia fielded and threw to second with ease. Revere was out by a mile. Yes, 5,280 feet. That's how much they got him by. A new record.
After the single by Cuddyer, Alfredo Aceves and Rich Hill got up in the bullpen. Both are sitting now, but at 103 pitches it won't be long until the door out there swings open to relieve Beckett.
End 6th, Red Sox 1-0: And then there's Nick Blackburn, who just struck out the side on 13 pitches. He has been phenomenal as well. Unfortunately, he is matched up with Josh Beckett and supported by what has been statistically one of the worst offenses in baseball.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 1-0: The Twins have had a two-out hit in four of the six innings. Josh Beckett has retired the next hitter each time.
Beckett's pitch count is at 95, but could be much lower if he was able to finish innings after getting those first two outs. But we're splitting hairs, aren't we? His ERA is now down to 2.03.
End 5th, Red Sox 1-0: The futility with men on reached new heights when Dustin Pedroia grounded to short with a man on third.
It was the second out of the inning and put the Sox at 0-for-8 w/RISP. They have been even worse with men on third base, a season-long bugaboo.
No worries, though. Adrian Gonzalez had yet to have his say in the fifth. He laced a first-pitch single to left to score Varitek with a monstrous run. The way the weather is, and the way Beckett looks, there is every reason to believe that run could hold up.
Mid 5th, 0-0: The Twins have hit one, maybe two balls with authority tonight. Three of their four hits against Josh Beckett have been bloops, two just over the glove of Dustin Pedroia.
Beckett's starts this year have taken on this easy, methodical feel. While he throws hard and has intensity and all that jazz, but he almost seems to lull the opponents to sleep. Just doesn't give them much to get excited about.
Of course, I type that just after the Twins made Beckett work just a bit. Luke Hughes had his second hit in as many at-bats to get on with two outs. He stole second and sat there as Denard Span battled Beckett through an eight-pitch at-bat before flying to center.
It served to run Beckett's pitch count up to 78, but that's it.
End 4th, 0-0: The Red Sox have had a man in scoring position and less than two outs in each of the last three innings, and a base runner in all four.
Still, nobody has even reached third base. J.D. Drew's one-out double goes to waste in the fourth after Jed Lowrie lines to center and Carl Crawford grounds to second.
Mid 4th, 0-0: I left Jed Lowrie out of my mention of how good the Red Sox infield is defensively, and I did so on purpose. He isn't the caliber defender, relative to position, of the other three.
However, Lowrie is not bad, and the play he made to end the fourth was very good. Lowrie ranged into the whole on a slow roller by Michael Cuddyer and threw across his body from a pretty good distance to get the runner by a solid step or two.
Josh Beckett now has a scoreless streak of 9 1/3 innings. He has thrown 57 pitches.
End 3rd, 0-0: The Red Sox left their runners in scoring position problems in the wake on this homestand, for the most part.
But it's rearing its ugly head early in this one. Boston has left four on through three and is 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
Jacoby Ellsbury singled to lead off the third, giving him an 18-game hitting streak. His career high is 22, at which point this will become very interesting. Long hitting streaks always are.
But a grounder to short by Dustin Pedroia, a fly to left by Adrian Gonzalez and the 32nd strikeout of the year by Kevin Youkilis gets Nick Blackburn out of the inning.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: With the way Adrian Gonzalez plays first, and the way Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis man their positions, this infield is scary good on defense. They make special plays on a nightly basis.
Gonzalez started a 3-6-3 double play to get Josh Beckett out of a jam in the third. Beckett had given up a single and a walk with one out.
Good point made by NESN's Peter Gammons on Twitter, something I neglected to include in prior post. J.D. Drew should've gone from second to third on Carl Crawford's liner to deep right in the second.
It might not have mattered much since Jason Varitek followed with a strikeout, but a wild pitch or passed ball and the Red Sox lead 1-0. Or a Varitek hit is a guaranteed run. From second at Fenway it is not (hits to left field often mean just one base). Just makes sense to tag there.
End 2nd, 0-0: Jed Lowrie entered this one right on the cusp of qualifying for league leaders in rate stats, including batting average. He should be there now after a single in the first in his 106th plate appearance (most leaderboards required around 105 entering the day).
With the single, Lowrie is batting .340. Only five hitters in the American League entered Monday with a better average.
By the way, Lowrie is not on the AL All-Star ballot. You'll have to write him in, or hope he is one of the contestants in the online voting charade at the end. That is if he keeps this up.
Lowrie's hit followed a one-out walk to J.D. Drew to give the Red Sox a little threat. Carl Crawford flied to deep right and Jason Varitek stared at strike three. Threat over.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: OK, there won't be a no-hitter in this one. Josh Beckett gave up a bloop single to right with two outs to Michael Cuddyer.
There could be a shutout, however. The wind continues to blow in and should cause issues for fly balls all night. Also, Beckett himself has 7 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings spread over three starts. His ERA is down to 2.23.
End 1st, 0-0: Adrian Gonzalez is now batting a toasty (to use a Joe Maddon favorite phrase) .355 (33-for-93) over his last 23 games, and .351 (33-for-94) against right-handers after a single in the first.
Kevin Youkilis followed with a line shot directly at third baseman Danny Valencia, leaving Gonzalez at first.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Not only has Carl Crawford started to heat up at the plate, he is also looking much more comfortable in front of the Green Monster.
The flyout that Crawford caught in the first was rather routine, but it's worth mentioning that he leads all left fielders in putouts while playing errorless ball in left. Hey, it's something.
The out is one of three Josh Beckett gets through the air, one to each outfielder, in a 1-2-3 first.
7:10 p.m.: The first two pitches by Josh Beckett are strikes to Denard Span, and we're rolling here at a windy Fenway Park.
6:39 p.m.: Jose Iglesias was out early today taking grounders with Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie, and then playing pop-ups to left, a play that can be tricky in Fenway since the left fielder can be on you quick.
He is also wearing No. 76, the number he sported during spring training. Iglesias had No. 68 on yesterday.
Some have wondered when Iglesias will get a start. Jed Lowrie has bounced back pretty well from the bug that is rolling through the clubhouse, so he's feeling pretty good. Same with Kevin Youkilis, whose absence would cause Iglesias to start at either third base or shortstop, where he played in the Arizona Fall League.
My guess is it won't be for some time. The Sox have a day off Thursday and then three games in New York, not exactly the environment in which you want to thrust a 21-year-old. Perhaps on the next homestand, which is part of a run of 20 games in 20 days, Iglesias will see his name on the lineup card.
5:29 p.m.: For those of you wondering, Terry Francona has not heard from the league regarding his Joe West incident the other night.
Francona said Sunday he didn't really want to talk much about it anymore. He was still asked Monday about the situation, and said the same, although he did add that he is not so sure if he even will.
Most seem to think that West was more out of line than Francona, who seemed to keep his hands to his side during the bumping. Perhaps Francona will answer for his gum/chew toss in the direction of Angel Hernandez. Maybe nothing will come of it.
4:28 p.m.: There are whispers of rain on the way again, which doesn't sit well with those who have endured this homestand and all it has had to offer.
Hopefully, it stays away, but take it into account if coming to the game. There is an incredibly stiff wind blowing straight in as I type this. May be a good night for pitching.
Josh Beckett hopes so. Here is the lineup he will face:
Denard Span, CF
Matt Tolbert, SS
Jason Kubel, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Ben Revere, LF
Rene Rivera, C
Luke Hughes, 2B
The group is a combined 7-for-33 (.212) off Beckett.
As for the rest of the pitching staff and how it lays out going forward, that remains to be seen. It's been a tumultuous time for the rotation and the bullpen, but hopefully things will calm down and the Sox can plot out a plan of attack for the upcoming road trip. Just not yet.
"Give us 'till tomorrow," manager Terry Francona said when asked about his rotation plans.
The only definites are Jon Lester and John Lackey going in the two games in Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday. With a day off Thursday, there could be some slight changes. And the next series is in New York, which always gets teams lining up the best they have to offer, if they can.
The presumption is that Clay Buchholz will go in Friday's opener at Yankee Stadium. It's possible Francona could come back with Beckett on Saturday and Lester on Sunday, both on normal rest, giving Boston its top three arms in the "big" series.
Stay tuned on that.
As for the bullpen, it's just about back to normal now. Both Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves are available tonight, Francona said. Aceves said he was ready to go yesterday, but Francona had no interest in pushing the issue. Aceves has that kind of gung-ho streak to him, so it's important for the team to pull back on the reins a bit.
Back soon with more.
3:24 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we are getting set for the last of 11 in a row at this place.
The lineup looks pretty similar to recent days. Take a look:
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
Jason Varitek, C
Matt Albers is out on the field working on taking throws at first base. He has whiffed on that play multiple times. One, as far as I can recall, was an error that led to some runs. Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie and Jose Iglesiasa are making the throws over to him.
10:45 a.m.: The Red Sox are 5-5 on a season-long 11-game homestand. They will try to finish it on the plus side when they wrap up a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
Josh Beckett gets the call for Boston, which pounded out a season-high 14 hits in Sunday's 9-5 win. Beckett pitched just 4 1/3 innings his last time out. He allowed only one hit but was thwarted by a lengthy rain delay that prevented him from going back out there once the tarp was taken off.
Still, the effort dropped Beckett's ERA to 2.35 and his WHIP to 0.86. He is 3-1 in four career starts vs. Minnesota.
Nick Blackburn will start for the Twins. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.
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