Postgame, Red Sox 4-0: The Kentucky Derby was on in the clubhouse and most of the team and the clubhouse staff had a horse or two that they were pulling for, for obvious reasons.
The fact that everybody could enjoy the race is a testament to how this game went.
A supreme pitching performance by five Red Sox hurlers offered up an incredible sense of camaraderie. Each guy in the train picking up the slack, essentially.
Look for more on this vibe in a separate piece, and then follow along again tomorrow morning when we forge into Mother's Day with another matinee at Fenway. Daisuke Matsuzaka is on the mound opposite Carl Pavano in the 1:35 p.m. affair.
Final, Red Sox 4-0: With rain falling, just to offer a dramatic touch, and a bolt of lightning in the distance, Jonathan Papelbon retires the side in order.
Boston breaks a three-game slide. Minnesota has a three-game winning streak stopped.
Heading down for some reaction. Back in a bit.
End 8th, Red Sox 4-0: Here comes Jonathan Papelbon. This is his fifth straight time pitching in a non-save situation.
Indeed, Kevin Youkilis is now the third baseman and Jed Lowrie the shortstop. Jonathan Papelbon is hitting in the No. 9 spot, but it would never come to that.
5:50 p.m.: It's been more than two weeks since Jonathan Papelbon has recorded a save. He should pitch the ninth, but it will no longer be a save opportunity.
Jacoby Ellsbury just lined a two-run single to center field, part of a two-out rally for the Red Sox. Ron Gardenhire is forced to make a pitching change and turn to Jim Hoey against Dustin Pedroia.
Worth noting that J.D. Drew hit for Marco Scutaro in this rally and walked. Kevin Youkilis, the DH, will probably move to third and Jed Lowrie to short, which means the Sox lose the DH. Won't mean anything unless we go to extras.
5:39 p.m.: There are only three games being played in baseball right now. This one, and two others that have no-hitters through five.
It's almost on a nightly basis that we have someone threatening to throw one. We'll see eight or 10 more this year if it keeps up like this, although warmer weather should help the hitters wake up a bit.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-0: Back and forth these bullpens go. Daniel Bard sets them down in order in the eighth and has not allowed an earned run in 14 straight innings.
Jonathan Papelbon next.
End 7th, Red Sox 2-0: Some solid work being done by relievers to escape jams in this one. Glen Perkins was in a pickle after allowing two to reach with one out, but strikes out Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis to finish it off.
If the Twins rally, that's their turning point.
To do so, they may need to get to Daniel Bard. He will begin the eighth.
5:22 p.m.: Marco Scutaro gets his sixth hit in his last 10 at-bats to start the seventh, and Dustin Pedroia gets his first in 17 at-bats one out later.
That's it for Kevin Slowey. Glen Perkins is on with two on and one out and the Red Sox looking to add on a little more here.
End 7th, Red Sox 2-0: Marco Scutaro has six hits and a walk in his last 11 plate appearances after an infield hit to begin the seventh.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-0: Although it's been a bit awkward, it's been a phenomenal day for Red Sox pitching.
Matt Albers allowed a leadoff single but got the next three in order, indluing the two Renes, Tosoni and Rivera.
Wonder if a Rene has hit in front of a Rene at any other time in baseball history.
Looks like Daniel Bard has just gotten up in the pen.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-0: A quick inning for Kevin Slowey. Matt Albers is coming in for Boston, and the rain that started back up just moments ago has ceased.
Albers has the ability to go multiple innings, but Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon are rested and ready.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-0: Rich Hill walked the first man he faced and hit the next. Getting Justin Morneau to hit into a 3-6-1 double play and striking out Jason Kubel with a man on third was huge.
If this game stays the same, that will be one of the key moments in the game.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-0: That will do it for Clay Buchholz. Rich Hill is jogging in. Three of the next four hitters for the Twins are lefties and Clay Buchholz gave the Red Sox plenty, so it was time.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz was a strike-throwing machine for the first 2 1/3 innings after the rain delay. Suddenly, he lost the zone.
Buchholz walked No. 8 hitter Rene Rivera (zero major league hits since 2006) and then fell behind Luke Hughes, who was hitting .160.
On a 3-1 fastball, Hughes lined a sharp shot toward left, but Jed Lowrie made a nice diving grab and threw to first to double off Rivera.
That gets Buchholz through five at 61 pitches. Looks like Rich Hill warming in the pen.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-0: As far as I can tell, Carl Crawford's average is over .200 (.205) for the first time since he opened April 7 at .211.
Crawford singled to start the fourth. He was erased on a 6-4-3 double play.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz has thrown almost exclusively off-speed stuff since going back out there, and it's working.
Buchholz did give up a two-out single to Michael Cuddyer, but the rest of the Twins had weak outs. Just 46 pitches through four for Buchholz.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox had a positive response to the long rain delay the other night, eventually mounting a game-tying comeback.
They were ready to go again in this one. Following Clay Buchholz's quick inning in his return to the mound, Boston gets a ringing double by Adrian Gonzalez and an RBI single by Kevin Youkilis to double their lead.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Clay Buchholz had thrown 28 pitches when the delay hit. He needs just eight more to retire the side in the third. Just what the doctor ordered.
4:00 p.m.: The delay lasted two hours, seven minutes.
3:58 p.m.: The Red Sox are back on the field and Clay Buchholz is throwing. Just a few minutes from resuming. How long Buchholz has remains to be seen.
3:49 p.m.: Me thinks a 4:00 restart will be tough. May need an extra five or 10 minutes to get this field ready. Meanwhile, the rain just keeps coming, and it looks like it will for a few hours. Another long day/night/morning developing here.
While Clay Buchholz is up for Boston in the pen, Kevin Slowey is going to be out there for Minnesota when this starts again. The Twins are not nearly as desparate for some innings from their starter. They have options to get several outs, Slowey being one of them.
3:41 p.m.: Clay Buchholz is walking out to the bullpen to warm back up. He was throwing simulated innings in the tunnel, and apparently not too many that he can't throw a few more for real.
There is still going to be rain off and on throughout the day/night. This won't be pretty.
3:34 p.m.: The tarp is coming off, but the rain is coming down in droves. They expect to resume at 4:00 p.m., but not in this kind of mess. Guess the radar is saying it will end soon.
Quite a homestand we've had here.
3:03 p.m.: It has now been 70 minutes since the rain delay started, and about 80 or so since Clay Buchholz last threw a pitch, at least one on the actual field.
According to FOX's Ken Rosenthal, who is likely down there watching some of this, Buchholz was throwing some simulated innings in the tunnel. That won't go on forever, and the chance of bringing him back now is all but gone, especially when you consider that it will take the field 30 minutes to get spruced up even when they decide to play again. When that is, we don't know.
2:32 p.m.: The rain has stopped but the tarp remains on the field. Word is they will wait for the next system to push on through, which won't help Clay Buchholz's cause any.
Getting more and more likely we will have a bevy of relievers fighting this one out.
While we have a moment, wanted to pass along word from Jerry Remy, who just tweeted that he has a viral cough in his chest, and that his doctor told him it could linger for a bit. Hopefully we will see Jerry back here soon.
2:07 p.m.: Terry Francona was asked last night if he was going to need to make a move since both of his long men were unavailable for a few days. He said the team would be fine, but that was not factoring in any weather delays today.
If this delay is too long for Buchholz to come back from, you have Matt Albers, Rich Hill, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon to get the last 21 outs. That's a tall task, and if you ever get in a situation where one of them gets shelled, then you have to burn through everyone in a losing effort.
That's why I would not be surprised if another starter is being considered for an inning or two. Certainly, that is a worst-case scenario, but if you've paid much attention to the Boston homestand, you know that those scenarios often come to fruition.
We also have to think about who can come up from Pawtucket to provide some depth going forward. Felix Doubront, Brandon Duckworth, Michael Bowden, Kyle Weiland, all options. Doubront is on the 40-man.
1:53 p.m.: As I say that, we are in a rain delay. This is supposed to be off and on throughout the afternoon. Set your alarm for 2:40 a.m. and you'll be able to catch the last five minutes.
Will have to see what this does for Clay Buchholz. The Sox obviously need him to eat up some innings. If the delay(s) cut him short, we could see another starter (John Lackey or Jon Lester?) eat up an inning later on.
By the way, Marco Scutaro is on first with a single when we resume. There are two outs in the bottom of the second. Jacoby Ellsbury is up.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Get ready for another rain delay, folks. It has begun to open up in a big way here. Also lightning and thunder, which is causing some oohs and aahs.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: So much was made of Clay Buchholz getting so much help from his defense last year, and for being rather fortunate in terms of balls finding gloves rather than holes.
Early in this one, Buchholz is the one helping out his defense.
Marco Scutaro allowed a runner to reach with a somewhat nonchalant throw over (ruled an infield hit). Buchholz got a strikeout to make it mean little. In the second, Jed Lowrie makes his third error in two games to allows Michael Cuddyer to reach leading off the inning.
Buchholz then struck out the next two he faced before the defense finally helped him out. It was Scutaro, who dove for a grounder up the middle and flipped it with his glove to Dustin Pedroia at second base for the force. Some in the press box seem to think the runner was safe. If that's the case, perhaps Joe West is just trying to get on the good side of Terry Francona.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Although he was still getting his hits from time to time, Jed Lowrie had just one RBI in his last 13 games before lining a two-out, run-scoring single to left field in the first.
Jacoby Ellsbury led things off with a double to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Dustin Pedroia walked and the two executed a double steal two outs later.
Lowrie smacked a 3-2 slider into left to score Ellsbury. Because it's Fenway and the ball got to the left fielder in no time, Pedroia had little chance to score. He was held and Mike Cameron whiffed to end it.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz has steadily increased his workload every time out, topping out at 107 pitches in his prior outing.
He needed 13 to get through the first, a very good total, but it could've been under 10 if not for an infield single that was no Buchholz's fault.
Justin Morneau, never known for his speed, grounded one up the middle that Marco Scutaro fielded on the lip of the outfield grass. Scutaro fielded, leisurely pumped once or twice and threw over, but Morneau beat it by a hair. Give credit to Morneau for running his you know what off, but Scutaro has to have a bit more urgency, regardless of who is running.
Buchholz got out of it when he struck out Jason Kubel looking.
12:58 p.m.: Just over 10 minutes from first pitch by Clay Buchholz, who has had a blister issue to deal with.
The game is on FOX today, so you don't get all that NESN has to offer, but keep it here for some local flavor.
Is today the day Dustin Pedroia breaks out? Me thinks he might. Pedroia did hammer one ball last night. Although it went foul, he must've liked the feeling.
Terry Francona was asked about Pedroia once again during his pregame briefing, specifically if he would ever give Pedroia the Carl Crawford treatment and drop him in the lineup.
"Nah, I like to leave him where he is," he said. "I've been around him long enough to know that he will get every bit as hot as he got cold…I know my job is to remain positive, but this is an easy one.
"Figuring out Pedey's mechanics is hard. Really. Being serious. He does some things you wouldn't teach a lot of people, but he's a great player. He's chasing balls out of the zone, especially breaking balls. And once you do that, then all of a sudden the fastball beats you, because you're trying to lay off the breaking ball. It's easy as a hitter to get caught in between and he's been doing it now for a little bit. And he'll snap out of it."
12:07 p.m.: Before I head off for a bite to eat, just wanted to pass along the Minnesota lineup:
Denard Span, CF
Trevor Plouffe, SS
Justin Morneau, DH
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
Rene Tosoni, LF
Rene Rivera, C
Luke Hughes, 2B
Those in the lineup who have faced Clay Buchholz are a combined 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles and two walks against him.
11:50 a.m.: A pretty quiet morning in the Red Sox clubhouse. Not many guys around, but David Ortiz's son, D'Angelo, was there doing his usual batting stances. Nailed Carl Crawford, that's for sure.
Also seen was Wayne "Big Fella" Hattaway, for nearly 60 years a clubhouse attendant who is an icon to the Twins. Ortiz and Darnell McDonald, who knew Hattaway from their time with the Twins, had fun with him, Ortiz making sure to tie Hattaway's shoes before he shuffled out.
The Red Sox are facing lefty Brian Duensing today. He has held lefties to a .233 average this year, prompting a rare day off for David Ortiz. Terry Francona has tried to do this sort of a shuffle in day games after night games, getting Ortiz out of there vs. a southpaw and providing some relief for Kevin Youkilis, who serves as the DH.
"I think it's a good time to get [Cameron] in there, and it gives Youk a chance, day game after a night game, use his bat and not have to have him play third," Francona said.
Adrian Gonzalez, who could be replaced by Jed Lowrie in exactly the same way, has yet to take the DH spot. Francona said Gonzalez "wants no part of it."
Francona pointed out that the Sox may not see many left-handers coming up, so Ortiz will be in there plenty. Southpaw Francisco Liriano was scheduled to start the series finale Monday, but he may be scratched in favor of Nick Blackburn. Liriano has been ill since his no-hitter. He is expected to throw a bullpen Saturday, and the Twins will plan from there.
If Blackburn goes, he will be one of at least four straight right-handers following Duensing.
In other lineup-related news, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is getting a rare day game after a night game due in large part to the 13 innings Jason Varitek had to catch the other night. Took a bit of a toll on the veteran catcher, but he should be back in there for the next two games.
"I think he felt like he caught a long game. He's doing ok," Francona said of his captain. "If things go according to plan, we'll catch him maybe tomorrow and Monday, day game, night game, and then as we go through the rotation again we'll probably, we'll split those guys up a little bit. We'll get to that as we go."
Interestingly enough, the latest mixup in the rotation has put Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka back-to-back again. It was the first shuffle a few weeks ago that split them up and afforded Francona a chance to target Varitek for their starts. That is always a bit tougher when they pitch on consecutive days, so we will see how the team handles that going forward.
11:30 a.m.: In case you missed the Red Sox lineup earlier on, here you go:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, DH
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Mike Cameron, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Marco Scutaro, SS
10 a.m.: The reeling Red Sox turn in need to Clay Buchholz on Saturday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins.
After back-to-back short starts that required clean-up duty from Pawtucket call-ups, the Sox — losers of three straight — could use a quality outing from Buchholz. He gave his best performance of the season last time out, going 6 2/3 innings against the Angels and giving up only two runs.
Buchholz has surrendered nine runs on 13 hits and six walks in 12 1/3 innings vs. the Twins in his career.
Lefty Brian Duensing goes for Minnesota, which has won three straight overall and snapped a seven-game Fenway Park losing streak in Friday's 9-2 win.
First pitch is 1:10 p.m.