Lucky break there. With a 14-pitch inning, Aceves got the job done and earned the save.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-5: Cody Ross unloaded a solo shot to the opposite field. That was impressive, considering all of his round-trippers this season have been pulled to left.
And you know what that means? Daniel Bard could be the winning pitcher in this one. By all accounts, it appears that Alfredo Aceves could be in to close it out.
Bottom 8th, 5-5: Daniel Bard returned to his old role in relief but was thrown into the fire with a man on third base.
Like he’s always done in relief from 2009 to 2011, Bard retired the next two batters to end the threat. He threw some of his 96 mph starter’s heat as opposed to the 99 mph gas he typically tossed as a reliever.
Well, let the comments calling for Bard to return to the bullpen begin. You just knew they would come if he did well.
10:52 p.m.: Franklin Morales surrendered a leadoff triple to Jamey Carroll. After retiring Joe Mauer, Bobby Valentine is going to … Daniel Bard.
Just like old times, right? The question is whether old times are going to resume moving forward.
Mid 8th, 5-5: Brian Duensing gets Adrian Gonzalez to fly out and David Ortiz to strike out swinging.
Ortiz has eight multi-hit games this season and is one of a few American League pitchers who is hitting over .400 this season.
Bottom 7th, 5-5: Give Lester credit for eating up the innings like he did after a rough go in the beginning.
That right there was an even quicker eight-pitch inning. Now, he still needs to rectify a lot of problems that he’s showed.
His location has been subpar. But again, he has rebounded enough to help Bobby Valentine avoid going to the bullpen earlier than necessary.
Mid 7th, 5-5: Jared Burton replaced Jason Marquis and handled business the rest of the way.
Also, Marlon Byrd got the first hit of his Red Sox career, drilling a single off Marquis — which led to the pitching change.
Let’s see how much the hit could help him gain some momentum.
10:21 p.m.: Cody Ross takes Jason Marquis deep to left field for a two-run homer to tie it up. It’s his fourth of the year.
Bottom 6th, Twins 5-3: Jon Lester bailed out the bullpen there, tossing a nine-pitch inning to retire the side quickly.
He may have gas in the tank for one more inning, but a call to the bullpen is inevitable. The way the bullpen has been pitching, it’s all up in the air.
Mid 6th, Twins 5-3: Jamey Carroll made a web gem play there, diving to snag David Ortiz’s grounder and flipping it to second to start the double play.
It was another well-hit ball for Ortiz, however. Dustin Pedroia also collected his second hit of the afternoon to keep steadying the ship.
But the team will need RBIs to make a difference on the scoreboard.
Bottom 5th, Twins 5-3: As many have pointed out, Jon Lester’s struggles are all taking place with two-strike counts.
After getting a 0-2 count on Trevor Plouffe, he walked him on four straight pitches. The inning before, Lester allowed the damage on two-strike counts as well.
He’s got to improve on closing out those at-bats.
Mid 5th, Twins 4-3: Marlon Byrd lined out in his second at-bat and is still sitting at three hits for the season.
At his opening presser Sunday, he said that “when you’ve played for awhile, you know it’s going to come” when speaking about his swing. He looked like a confident guy who was excited about his new chance.
Bottom 4th, Twins 4-3: Just when it looked like Jon Lester was cruising and back to form, he endures another tough inning.
Ryan Doumit had a two-run double to get things going before Danny Valencia smacked Lester’s fastball over the wall for a two-run jack.
His pitch count has climbed to 76 pitches, which could mean another long outing for the bullpen. Stay tuned for that one.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: David Ortiz is still scorching at the plate. He gets his second hit of the game, bringing his average to .456.
Yep, that’s not a typo. Last week, Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan said the designated hitter looked like “a man on a mission.” When asked what the mission was, Magadan said to win games, get to the playoffs and get a new contract.
There you go.
Bottom 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Jon Lester’s cutter looked sharp there as he retired the side swiftly.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ryan Doumit, a catcher by nature, is playing right field for the Twins in this showdown. It’ll be funny to see how that works out.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Ryan Sweeney continues to stroke the ball well, hitting a double. He’s really emerged as a surprise and could make things interesting with a possible platoon with Cody Ross or Byrd when Carl Crawford returns.
Jason Marquis settled down for the Twins there, tossing his first scoreless frame of the night.
Bottom 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Marlon Byrd gets into the action in his Red Sox debut, recording a putout in the outfield.
You also have to admire Justin Morneau’s comeback. With his concussion history, he’s struggled to get back and was used primarily as a designated hitter in the spring.
Now, he’s getting time at first base, proving he’s ready to take the next step.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia added to the early power surge, blasting a two-run homer to right.
It looks like he’s finally getting into a groove. After sputtering to start the season, he collected three hits in the last game against the Yankees and followed it up with Monday’s long ball. That pitch was well below the knees, too.
With that homer, he’s lifted his average to .229.
Bottom 1st, Red Sox 1-0: A much smoother start in the game for Jon Lester, who threw 80 pitches in just two innings of work in a blowout loss against the Rangers last week.
He tossed a good amount of fastballs to start off the inning but got in some offspeed stuff to strike out Josh Willingham to end the inning.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: For all of the criticism surrounding Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox skipper made one really wise decision.
Ever since slotting Mike Aviles at leadoff, Aviles has hit .367 with two homers and five RBIs. He’s filled in admirably for Jacoby Ellsbury.
His leadoff hit just now paid dividends for the Red Sox as he wound up scoring a run.
10:30 a.m. ET: After squandering a nine-run lead Saturday, the Red Sox (4-10) have a chance to regroup with a series against the Twins (5-11) after Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees was rained out.
Jon Lester, who flew out of Boston on Sunday night, will take the bump for the Red Sox instead of Daniel Bard. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine elected to skip Bard’s start and have him available out of the bullpen to pitch in bailout situations, considering the pen’s recent struggles.
Lester will look to earn his first victory of the season and rebound from a disappointing start against the Rangers, when he surrendered eight hits and seven runs over two innings. He will go up against Jason Marquis, who is 1-0 with a 7.20 ERA for Minnesota. Marquis lasted five frames in his last outing against the Yankees.
For more analysis throughout the day, follow NESN.com’s live blog. And be sure to tune in to NESN for the game. The game’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.