Final, Red Sox 8-6: Tim Wakefield is denied his milestone once again, but this is a pretty darn good win for this team.
They arrived in Minneapolis after 5 a.m., fell behind 5-1 before breaking out the bats in a big way and winning a see-saw affair. Great way to earn a good night's rest.
And there is one extra hour of sleep on the docket as Tuesday's game is an 8:10 p.m. game back in New England. It will be Erik Bedard making his second start in a Red Sox uniform squaring off with fellow lefty Francisco Liriano.
We will look for you then.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 8-6: Two-out magic puts Boston ahead for the third time in this see-saw affair, and you can credit David Ortiz for being in the middle of it again.
Ortiz is now 4-for-5 with three RBIs after driving in Darnell McDonald (running for Adrian Gonzalez at second).
Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a bloop double that scored Dustin Pedroia for some insurance.
That turns things over to Jonathan Papelbon with a reworked defense behind him. Jed Lowrie is at first, Mike Aviles at third and McDonald in right.
9:48 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Red Sox a good start with a base hit to begin the ninth, but Carl Crawford made an out and Ellsbury then was caught stealing on a pickoff.
Adrian Gonzalez singled, chasing Glen Perkins. Here comes Joe Nathan to face Dustin Pedroia with two outs and a man on first.
End 8th, 6-6: Trevor Plouffe doubled to begin things off Alfredo Aceves in the eighth.
That brought up a trio of hitters who were a combined 5-for-8 with two doubles and a home run against Aceves.
The Red Sox righty managed to get the first two, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer, but could not get the third as Jason Kubel lined a base hit to center to score Plouffe and erase any chance for history tonight.
Tim Wakefield has produced three straight quality starts (three earned runs in each) and will be 0-1 with two no-decisions.
Glen Perkins remains in the game to face the top of the Boston order. Watch Aceves, who is 21-2 in his career, wind up with a win.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-5: The second error by a catcher in this game, both on plays at the plate, has allowed the Red Sox to grab the lead.
David Ortiz doubled, moved up on a tapper to first by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and then came down the line on a grounder to short.
Joe Mauer had the throw and the tag lined up but saw the ball glance off his glove and roll to the backstop.
Ortiz scores, Tim Wakefield has his lead and Alfredo Aceves is on to protect it. Daniel Bard threw the last two days against New York, so Terry Francona is probably trying to stay away from him. My bad for thinking Bard would be in here.
End 7th, 5-5: And once again Jarrod Saltalamacchia has thrown out a would-be base stealer.
He's now up over 30 percent in that category again after taking care of Matt Tolber to end the seventh.
At 103 pitches, Tim Wakefield is done. Whether he officially leaves with the lead or not depends upon what the Red Sox do here. Alfredo Aceves was warming. It'll be Bard and Pap if the lead is attained.
It's David Ortiz, Saltalamacchia and Josh Reddick against Glen Perkins, a lefty.
Mid 7th, 5-5: Ron Gardenhire wins that little battle of the brains.
The Red Sox will take Dustin Pedroia up with the bases loaded in a tie game any day of the week, but Gardenhire felt that walking Adrian Gonzalez and going after Pedroia with Matt Capps gave him the best chance to limit the damage.
Capps gets a tailor-made 5-4-3 double play that has smoke coming out of Pedroia's ears and Tim Wakefield still working without a lead.
Have to wonder if the bunt by Carl Crawford was really necessary. A hot hitter facing a marginal arm who had given up hits to his first two batters. Anyway, it backfired in the end, but if Pedroia just lifted a sac fly or something, we might not really be debating it.
9:00 p.m.: Phil Dumatrait does a duma all over this one, giving up two straight hits to begin the seventh.
A sacrifice bunt by Carl Crawford (really? ain't he kinda hot right now?) moves the runners up 90 feet, which prompts Ron Gardenhire to walk Adrian Gonzalez to load them up.
Here comes Matt Capps to face Dustin Pedroia, the cleanup man with a full plate in front of him.
End 6th, 5-5: Just a run and three scoreless innings and Tim Wakefield has his milestone.
OK, it's much easier said than done, but at least Wakefield answered with a zero in the bottom of the sixth.
The question becomes, will Terry Francona send him out there for the seventh if Boston does get the lead. That was a slight controversy in Wakefield's last attempt, as he began the seventh with a one-run advantage but lost it.
We shall see.
Mid 6th, 5-5: We said it would take a big rally to make a Tim Wakefield win much of a possibility. Well, the Red Sox didn't get the lead, but they are on the verge after breaking out the lumber in the sixth.
A leadoff triple by Carl Crawford set it all up. He came in on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez to make it 5-2.
Dustin Pedroia then singled up the middle before David Ortiz crushed a two-run homer and Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a long solo shot to tie it.
It's the sixth time the Red Sox have gone back-to-back this year. According to word from Target Field, the Ortiz bomb was 438 feet.
That has to be a nauseating feeling for Scott Baker and the Twins. You take the lead then add on in each of the last two innings, only to see it vanish in a span of two swings. That's what Boston can do.
Wakefield climbs to the hill to begin the bottom half having thrown 68 pitches (said 69 earlier, guess they recounted).
End 5th, Twins 5-1: Well, Tim Wakefield has lasted long enough to get the win, but it will take a pretty special comeback before he exits for that to happen.
Wakefield had two outs and nobody on in the fifth before Trevor Plouffe singled and Joe Mauer doubled him in.
Pitch count is not yet an issue — Wakefield is at 69. But the leash will be very short in the sixth if the Twins begin to rally.
Mid 5th, Twins 4-1: Marco Scutaro has hits in six straight at-bats after a two-out single in the fifth.
It will be interesting to see who is in the lineup at shortstop tomorrow. Scutaro is hot, but Lowrie kills lefties and southpaw Francisco Liriano is on the mound for the Twins.
Maybe Terry Francona will use it as a rest day for Scutaro, but it's a tough time to take him out of the lineup.
End 4th, Twins 4-1: Jason Kubel gets a knuckleball he likes and unloads for a solo shot to right, his ninth of the year.
Moments after Kubel's homer, Jim Thome sent a low liner that skipped off Jed Lowrie's glove and into shallow left. My first thought was that Kevin Youkilis makes that play, but that's unfair…the ball exploded on Lowrie.
My second thought was, how could that be an error? I know it was hit right at him, but doesn't the hitter deserve more credit than the fielder deserves discredit?
I think the official scorer has had a couple, perhaps at my favorite Minneapolis spot, Murray's, where a Jack & Ginger (or six) goes great with the silver butterknife steak. But not before a game.
Mid 4th, Twins 3-1: Six straight sent down by Scott Baker. A strikeout of Dustin Pedroia begins the 1-2-3 fourth, which involved only 10 pitches.
Pedroia has struck out five times in his last six games after going 10 games without a K. I'm going to tweet that right now.
End 3rd, Twins 3-1: Certainly game to game, but also inning to inning, you just don't always know what you'll get from Tim Wakefield.
With strikeouts of Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer and a fly ball off the bat of Michael Cuddyer, Wakefield cruises through the third.
The last two strikes to Plouffe came on fastballs.
Mid 3rd, Twins 3-1: Ron Gardenhire has to love that.
After his team rallies for three runs in a long inning that had a little of everything, Scott Baker retires the top third of the Boston lineup in order. It took him 12 pitches.
In case you are wondering, the Yankees are off tonight. They get to go home and relax for a day before beginning a homestand, entering a slightly smoother portion of the schedule than the Red Sox, who are up against it for the next few weeks.
End 2nd, Twins 3-1: Terry Francona often talks about the speed at which this game is played. He's usually referring to instances that can psyche out a youngster.
Tim Wakefield is no youngster, but things unraveled in a heartbeat in the second, although not all of it was his doing.
The very awkward inning began when Michael Cuddyer doubled on a ball that Carl Crawford most definitely should've caught. Not sure why that was an error, but it gave the Twins a good start.
Jason Kubel then lined a hit to right and Cuddyer tried to score. He would've been out at the plate had Jarrod Saltalamacchia held onto the ball, but it popped free. As Salty, who was charged with a very tough error, tried to recover to prevent Kubel from racing to second, he twisted his right ankle.
So, with no outs in the inning Minnesota had scored once, had a second man in scoring position and had Boston's starting catcher limping around the infield.
It got worse. Jim Thome followed with an RBI double, moved to third on a groundout and then scored on Saltalamacchia's passed ball with two outs.
Not a great inning there for anyone on the Boston side of things, except for maybe Josh Reddick, who unleashed a pretty strong throw that nearly got Cuddyer.
Two of the runs are unearned.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Jed Lowrie hit the disabled list hitless in 15 straight at-bats and owning a .206 average against right-handers.
He managed to turn around both of those trends with one swing of the bat, lining a single to right to extend the top of the second.
That brought up the suddenly hot Marco Scutaro, who singled up the middle to score David Ortiz (led the inning off with a base hit).
Lowrie was out on the play when he rounded second base too far, but it was a good sign to see him battle back from 0-2 against a really tough righty and get a hit to keep the inning going.
Scutaro has five hits in as many at-bats.
End 1st, 0-0: Clearly, Scott Baker is completely outdueling Tim Wakefield.
After Baker throws 12 pitches in the top of the first, Wakefield throws 13.
Actually, Wakefield's inning was better, for he didn't allow anyone to reach. A strikeout of Denard Span and two easy outs on the ground get us through the first in a matter of minutes.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Scott Baker does not throw hard, but he works quick, throws strikes and gets "good" contact, the kind that yields easy outs.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford had no such contact in the first, both going down the way of the strikeout.
Adrian Gonzalez singled to right but Dustin Pedroia grounded into a force play to end a 12-pitch inning for Baker.
7:10 p.m.: Scott Baker, who has been extremely good at home this year, has thrown a first-pitch strike to Jacoby Ellsbury. Keep it here all night for your in-game analysis.
6:52 p.m.: For whatever reason, AL Central teams have given the Red Sox some fits of late.
The club is 31-32 against the division over the last two years, while going 105-71 against the AL East and AL West.
If it seems like forever since the Sox have been in Target Field, well, almost. It's been nearly 16 months since Minnesota took two of three from Boston in the first series in the ballpark's history.
The Twins made a trip to Boston for just two games in May of last year, but that's it between these teams. In fact, the five games they played last year were the fewest since the Washington franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961.
5:48 p.m.: With all the drama of last night and the travel to a new town and the roster moves and all that stuff, it's easy to forget that Tim Wakefield is, once again, on the verge of history.
In his effort to get that elusive 200th win, Wakefield will contend with this crew:
Denard Span, CF
Trevor Plouffe, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Jim Thome, DH
Danny Valencia, 2B
Delmon Young, LF
Matt Tolbert, SS
The top third of the lineup is 11-for-26 (.423) with two homers and seven RBIs off Wakefield. Thome, who sits two home runs shy of 600, is 10-for-58 (.172) with three longballs against the knuckleballer.
A reminder to all you tuning in tonight. The game will be carried on NESN in New England and ESPN outside the NESN broadcast area. Your other, much cooler, option is to just leave it here and hit refresh over and over and over and…
5:19 p.m.: Word out of Minnesota is that Bobby Jenks is having a colonoscopy.
Jenks was supposed to throw Sunday, and if all went well he would head to Fort Myers for some simulated games. But "intestinal turmoil" has set him back once more.
Seems as if Jenks cannot get right. This will delay his all-important side session a bit. The best the team can hope for now is for Jenks to show them enough in September.
In other news, it is just a scheduled day off for Kevin Youkilis. Terry Francona told reporters that Dustin Pedroia may get one off later in the week.
Jed Lowrie is back, as mentioned. Here is our award-winning account of the roster move. Also, in a pretty busy day for the organization, both Ryan Kalish and Junichi Tazawa have been added to the roster in Pawtucket. Pretty significant developments for both.
3:47 p.m.: Loads of quality Red Sox-related content on the page today from the whole team at NESN.com. Here are a few links:
Michael Hurley has a fine rebuttal to ESPN's Steve Berthiaume calling the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry a dead one. Couldn't agree more with Hurley on this one — I think people have been saying this for a few years now, but just so they have something to say. The rivalry is not what it was say six or seven years ago, but its leaps and bounds beyond the 20s or 30s or 50s or 60s or 80s or early 90s, when these two teams rarely matched up while on the same level.
Maybe someone wrote a column in 1989 declaring the rivalry dead, and everyone jumped on board then as well and echoed that thought, just so they had something to say. I don't know. I wasn't born until '93. But I also sat in the bleachers six years later and watched an ALCS between these two teams, and there was no deadness to the rivalry then. (Can't believe the language some people would use around a kid like me.)
Sometimes these things are cyclical, but to say that this is a dead period is a bit off. Maybe down from a few years ago, but still well worth the 13 hours each night to watch them play a game.
Hurley also caught up with the great Neil Keefe of WFAN.com in a spirited Red Sox-Yankees debate.
Ben Watanabe takes a solid look at the construction of the Red Sox outfield, and how it differs (in a good way) from those in the past.
Hurley chimes in again (does he ever shut up?), wondering if New York has lost confidence in CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. Can't wholeheartedly agree with him on this one, for Sabathia has had these ebbs and flows in his career against the Sox, as has Rivera. You face a good offense this many times, they'll get to you, and sometimes they get to you in bunches. The Yanks will be just fine handing those two the ball in October…not like they have a choice. Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon have had their fair share of issues in this rivalry, but Terry Francona will be pleased as punch (I said it!) to turn to them.
But Hurley makes some good points, and he's not a bad dude, so we'll leave it at that.
Yours truly looked at the incredible run for Josh Beckett, incredible in how severely it has been overshadowed by walk-offs and rain delays and extra-inning madness. There is also a glance at the upcoming schedule, which is rife with danger for the Red Sox. Beware!
3:17 p.m.: Some of the pregame talk yesterday surrounded how Terry Francona was going to handle playing time for Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie over the remaining 49 games.
Well, that debate can "rage" until there are 48 games left, for both guys are in the lineup tonight in Minnesota.
Lowrie will give Kevin Youkilis a rest and play third base. It makes sense that one of the regulars gets a night off after the team arrived early this morning in Minneapolis. Certainly if it is more than that, we'll let you know.
Here's a look at the lineup, followed by a few numbers:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Marco Scutaro, SS
It isn't really a matchup thing, just an effort to get Youkilis a breather, which is one of the things Lowrie did from time to time when healthy. The former is 2-for-11 against Scott Baker but one of the hits is a home run and he has two walks. The latter is 0-for-3.
Crawford has been hot, going 9-for-12 in the Yankees series. He is a 7-for-17 (.412) hitter against Baker, so it's a great time to move him up for a day. Crawford will be playing his fifth game of the year in the No. 2 hole.
And finally, the Pedroia as a cleanup hitter update: 19-for-34 (.559) with four home runs, five doubles and 10 RBIs, all in nine games (seven starts).
8 a.m. ET: Take three.
Tim Wakefield will try a third time to reach the 200-win mark when he gets the ball in the opener of a three-game series in Minnesota on Monday night.
Wakefield has certainly pitched well enough to reach the milestone, allowing six runs on eight hits in 13 2/3 innings over his last two outings, both of them quality starts. He has one loss and one no-decision in that stretch.
The 45-year-old is 14-7 in 28 games (25 starts) against the Twins, who counter with Scott Baker.
Baker had been on a marvelous roll before he was reached for four runs in three innings at Anaheim his last time out. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA at Target Field this year.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m., roughly 14 hours or so after the Red Sox will be landing in Minnesota.
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