Final, Red Sox 12-5: The Twins were a pesky bunch, but the Red Sox finally pulled away, and Boston has now won four straight.
David Ortiz led the way for the Sox. He opened up the scoring with a three-run home run in the first inning, and he then added a two-run blast in the seventh inning. Ortiz finished the game 3-for-4 with two dingers, a single, a walk and six RBIs.
The Red Sox survived a subpar outing from Ryan Dempster, who went only 4 2/3 innings before getting the hook. Dempster gave up five earned runs on eight hits and six walks. He threw 127 pitches, and he didn’t earn the victory because he didn’t go the requisite five innings.
Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava each chipped in two hits apiece. Nava went deep as part of Boston’s four-run seventh inning, which helped put the game out of reach.
John Lackey will get the start on Sunday as the Red Sox look to finish off the sweep and win their fifth straight. The action is scheduled to kick off at 2:10 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 12-5: The Red Sox tacked on one more insurance run in the ninth inning.
The Sox loaded the bases with no outs against Ryan Pressly, who breezed through the eighth inning. Pressly walked both David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, and Daniel Nava followed up with a single.
At that point, the Red Sox looked poised for a big inning. Pressly recorded three straight outs, though, one of which was a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ryan Lavarnway.
Lavarnway has had a nice game. He’s 1-for-4, but he has two RBIs and he made a key defensive play in the sixth inning, holding on to the ball during a violent collision at the plate in a two-run game.
End 8th, Red Sox 11-5: Alex Wilson picked up the win on Friday, but he needed just two pitches to do so. That meant he was available again for this game, and John Farrell turned to him in the eighth.
Wilson tossed a 1-2-3 inning. He struck out Josh Willingham on a fastball low and out of the zone, and then sat down Ryan Doumit and Oswaldo Arcia on a pair of comebackers to the mound.
David Ortiz, who is tearing the cover off the ball, will bat for Boston in the ninth.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 11-5: Ryan Pressly enjoyed a very quick inning in the eighth.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes each flied out, and Dustin Pedroia ended the inning by grounding out to short.
This is the time when I remind you that Pressly pitched in the Red Sox organization last season.
End 7th, Red Sox 11-5: Craig Breslow came back out to pitch the seventh inning. He scattered a hit, but kept the Twins’ offense at bay.
Pedro Florimon started the inning with a slow roller to the left side. Breslow showed a lot of hustle to come off the mound, make a play and deliver a hard throw to first base in order to record the out.
Jamey Carroll then singled with one out, but Breslow got out of the inning without the Twins cutting into the lead.
Ryan Pressly will take over for the Twins, who are suddenly running out of outs.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 11-5: This game changed in a hurry.
The Twins have been sticking around all night, but the Red Sox posted four runs in the seventh inning and now hold an 11-5 lead.
Daniel Nava did his best David Ortiz impression to extend Boston’s lead. He greeted the new pitcher, Casey Fien, with a two-run blast to right field.
10:16 p.m., Red Sox 9-5: David Ortiz is having a monster game.
Dustin Pedroia walked to lead off the seventh inning, and Ortiz drove him in with his second home run of the game. (He hit a three-run shot back in the first inning.)
Ortiz is now 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs.
Mike Napoli followed up Ortiz’s big fly with a walk, and the Twins will make a pitching change. Casey Fien will replace Anthony Swarzak.
End 6th, Red Sox 7-5: What a way to end an inning.
Clayton Mortensen came back out to start the sixth, but he was lifted after giving up a single to Ryan Doumit and walking Oswaldo Arcia with one out. Craig Breslow took over, and although his night began with a walk, the Red Sox’ defense came up big.
Aaron Hicks hit a little blooper down the right-field line with the bases loaded and one out. Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia each raced out into shallow right field on a ball that initially spelled trouble. Pedroia made a nifty basket catch, and the Twins’ aggressiveness then hurt them.
The Twins have been extremely aggressive on the bases all night, and it’s a big reason why they’re still in this game. The Twins were a little too aggressive on Hicks’ blooper, though. Ryan Doumit tried to tag up and score, but Pedroia got rid of the ball quickly and delivered a good throw to Ryan Lavarnway. Lavarnway took Doumit’s best shot in a collision at the plate, but the Red Sox catcher held on to complete the double play and end Minnesota’s threat.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 7-5: Nice job by Anthony Swarzak in the sixth inning.
The Red Sox have answered the Twins every time they’ve cut into the lead, but Swarzak enjoyed a quick 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. Minnesota’s offense will now go back to work.
Pedro Ciriaco grounded out, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes each flied out in the sixth.
End 5th, Red Sox 7-5: Clayton Mortensen gave up a single to Joe Mauer and fell behind Justin Morneau 3-0. But he survived.
Morneau flied out to left-center field to end the inning, which stranded two runners.
The book is closed on Ryan Dempster, who couldn’t get through the fifth inning to put himself in line for a win. Dempster gave up six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits, walked six and struck out two while throwing 127 pitches (68 strikes).
9:33 p.m., Red Sox 7-5: Ryan Dempster’s outing was a battle.
Dempster allowed three runs in the fifth, and although John Farrell tried to let him get the final out of the inning, the right-hander simply couldn’t do it.
Ryan Doumit started the fifth inning with a double off the right-field wall. He then took third base on Oswaldo Arcia’s groundout to second, and scored on Trevor Plouffe’s groundout to short.
Dempster ran into some more trouble after that, though. He walked Aaron Hicks, who stole second base, and gave up an RBI single to Pedro Florimon.
It looked as if that would be the end of Dempster’s night, but Farrell opted to keep the pitcher in after a mound visit. In hindsight, he probably should have taken Dempster out.
Keeping up with Minnesota’s aggressive approach, Florimon swiped second base and scored on Jamey Carroll’s bloop single into right field. Clayon Mortensen will now enter the game and try to get out of the fifth inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 7-2: The Red Sox added two more runs after Anthony Swarzak took over in the fifth inning.
Swarzak walked Mike Napoli on four pitches to set up runners at the corners. Daniel Nava added to Boston’s total with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Will Middlebrooks then reached base for the third time with a single into center. That proved to be big, as Ryan Lavarnway followed up by driving in a run with his first hit of the season.
Lavarnway pulled a single into left field. Napoli came around to score, but catcher Ryan Doumit was able to throw out Middlebrooks, who tried to take third on left fielder Josh Willingham’s throw to the plate.
9:08 p.m., Red Sox 5-2: Every time the Twins score, the Red Sox come back and tack on a run of their own.
Jonny Gomes led off the fifth inning with a double into the left-field corner, and Dustin Pedroia drove him in with an RBI double into the right-center field gap.
Twins starter Scott Diamond stayed in the game to face David Ortiz, who grounded out to short, but Ron Gardenhire will now turn to the bullpen. Anthony Swarzak will take over.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Ryan Dempster nearly got the quick inning he desperately needed. Leave it to Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to crush his dreams.
Dempster retired Pedro Florimon and Jamey Carroll to start the fourth inning, but the third out didn’t come so easily.
Mauer shot a double down the left-field line and into the corner. Dempster then got to two strikes on Morneau, but the former AL MVP ripped a 2-2 splitter into right field to score Mauer with Minnesota’s second run.
Josh Willingham flied out to center field to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster has thrown 97 pitches (51 strikes) through four innings.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-1: Will Middlebrooks has reached safely in each of his first two plate appearances, but the Red Sox couldn’t do anything with his leadoff walk in the fourth.
Ryan Lavarnway got a pretty good piece of one, but he hit it right at center fielder Aaron Hicks, who took care of out No. 1. Pedro Ciriaco flied out to right field, and Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a forceout to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster heads back to the mound in need of a quick inning. His pitch count is climbing, and it’s been a struggle for the right-hander despite the Twins only scoring one run thus far.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox figure to lose a little something defensively behind the plate with David Ross sidelined, but Ryan Lavarnway helped save a run in the third inning.
Josh Willingham connected on a one-out double into the left-center field gap. Jacoby Ellsbury made a sliding effort near the warning track, but the ball bounced past him and to the wall.
Willingham moved up to third base when Ryan Doumit grounded out softly to the mound. That almost proved big, as Ryan Dempster’s 1-2 splitter to Oswaldo Arcia bounced in the dirt, but Lavarnway made an excellent block. The ball actually kicked away from Lavarnway a little bit, but it wasn’t enough for Willingham to take advantage.
Dempster eventually lost Arcia, walking him on nine pitches, and he then walked Trevor Plouffe. After a visit from pitching coach Juan Nieves, Dempster escaped the jam by getting Aaron Hicks to fly out to right.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: It didn’t take long for the Red Sox to reestablish a three-run cushion.
The Sox’ offense went back to work in the third inning. Scott Diamond retired Jacoby Ellsbury, but he had a hard time settling in from there. Jonny Gomes, who continues to show excellent patience at the plate, worked a one-out walk to get things going for Boston.
Dustin Pedroia hit a slow chopper down to third base. Trevor Plouffe charged in and fielded it cleanly, but he didn’t get much on his throw, and Pedroia was able to reach safely.
That set the table for David Ortiz, who hit a three-run homer back in the first inning. Diamond kept Ortiz in the yard this time around, but Big Papi still came through with an RBI single into right field.
Diamond bounced back to strike out Mike Napoli. Daniel Nava then flied out to left field, although it required a nice sliding play from Josh Willingham.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: Ryan Dempster almost escaped the second inning unscathed, but Pedro Florimon continues to be a thorn in Boston’s side. Still, the inning could have been much worse for the Red Sox.
Dempster struggled with his control to begin the inning. He issued back-to-back walks to Ryan Doumit and Oswaldo Arcia, and they both moved up a station when Trevor Plouffe hit a soft chopper to third base.
Dempster was in some trouble, but he caught a break when Aaron Hicks grounded to third base. Will Middlebrooks made a backhanded stop while ranging into foul territory. The only play he had was at the plate, and the Red Sox were able to cut down Doumit between third and home to keep Minnesota off the scoreboard.
The Twins didn’t remain scoreless for much longer. Florimon shot a two-out RBI single past a diving Dustin Pedroia and into center field to cut into Boston’s lead.
The Twins threatened for more, as Jamey Carroll walked to load the bases, but Dempster struck out Joe Mauer to avoid any further damage.
The inning was certainly all over the place — quite literally considering Dempster’s three walks — but the Red Sox’ lead is safe for now.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Will Middlebrooks dropped down his first career sacrifice bunt in the 10th inning on Friday. He swung away in the second inning, and he smacked a single into left field.
The Red Sox couldn’t capitalize on the leadoff hit, though. Scott Diamond, who labored through the first inning, benefited from a double play to settle things down.
The twin killing came with Ryan Lavarnway at the dish, and it was actually pretty impressive. Second baseman Jamey Carroll made an excellent play going up the middle. He then flipped to shortstop Pedro Florimon, who showed off some nifty footwork to avoid Middlebrooks’ slide and complete the double play.
Pedro Ciriaco, who is getting the start in place of Stephen Drew, flied out to right field to end the inning.
End 1st, Red Sox 3-0: Justin Morneau took advantage of the Red Sox’ defense moving into a shift. His two-out, opposite-field single didn’t lead to any damage on the scoreboard, though.
Ryan Dempster got off to a quick start in the first inning. He struck out Jamey Carroll swinging on four pitches. Dempster started Carroll off with two fastballs before going with back-to-back sliders en route to his first strikeout.
Joe Mauer, who sat out Friday’s game with back soreness, flied out to left field for the second out.
Morneau got into a hitter’s count at 2-0 with two down in the inning. He then took a strike before shooting a base hit down the left-field line. Morneau’s single didn’t matter, however, because Josh Willingham popped out to end the inning.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 3-0: David Ortiz’s best days have been as a member of the Red Sox. He certainly doesn’t mind facing his former team, though.
Ortiz entered the game with a .323 average, .421 on-base percentage, 13 home runs and 37 RBIs in 52 career games against the Twins. He was hitting .471 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in nine games (34 at-bats) at Target Field. It didn’t take long to add to those totals.
Ortiz launched a three-run home run over the right-center field wall to give the Red Sox an early lead. Scott Diamond went mostly away against Ortiz, but he eventually hung a 2-2 slider that the slugger jumped all over.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia helped set the stage for Ortiz’s three-run blast. Ellsbury led off with a sharply hit single into center field, and Pedroia worked a five-pitch walk with one out.
Mike Napoli singled after Ortiz’s long ball, but Daniel Nava — who fouled a ball off himself during the at-bat — grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
7:12 p.m.: Scott Diamond’s first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury is high for a ball, and we’re underway.
7:05 p.m.: Ryan Dempster has racked up his fair share of strikeouts this season, which is something most Red Sox pitchers have been doing. Entering Saturday’s game, Red Sox pitchers have struck out 400 hitters this season. They struck out 14 in Friday’s win.
6:55 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury was actually supposed to have Saturday night off, but because Shane Victorino is still battling a back issue, John Farrell had no other choice but to keep Ellsbury in the lineup.
Ellsbury’s next day off will be his first this season, and it might come at a good time. Ellsbury has been struggling of late, and his average is down to .247.
Farrell said before Saturday’s game that he hopes to have Victorino back for Sunday’s game.
“He was hopeful for today last night,” Farrell said of Victorino, who left Thursday’s game in the ninth inning. “He’s a hard guy to keep out of the lineup because he wants to get in every day and he’ll probably push it or risk it a little bit more than maybe we’re comfortable with. I think the additional day will be good.”
Perhaps Ellsbury will get his day off on Sunday.
4:42 p.m.: The Red Sox learned Friday that David Ross is still experiencing concussion symptoms. There was initially a chance that Ross, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after taking a couple of foul balls off the mask last Saturday, would rejoin the team in Minnesota, but that now seems unlikely.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn’t going to get every start in Ross’ absence, though. In fact, Ryan Lavarnway will start behind the dish on Saturday, likely because the Red Sox have a matinee affair on tap for Sunday. Lavarnway will bat eighth.
Pedro Ciriaco will also receive a start on Saturday. He’ll play shortstop and bat ninth, while Stephen Drew, who looked a bit banged up after diving head first into second base in the eighth inning on Friday, will get the night off.
Shane Victorino, who is battling a back issue, will once again sit out. Jonny Gomes will play left field and bat second, and Daniel Nava will play right field and bat sixth.
The rest of Saturday’s lineups are below.
Red Sox (25-17)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Ryan Dempster, RHP (2-4, 3.75 ERA)
Jamey Carroll, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Ryan Doumit, C
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Aaron Hicks, CF
Pedro Florimon, SS
Scott Diamond, LHP (3-3, 4.08 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: Friday’s game was pretty exciting, eh?
The Red Sox, who trailed 2-1 in the seventh inning, tied the game against the Twins’ bullpen, and eventually pushed across the game-winning run in the 10th inning on Jonny Gomes’ sacrifice fly. It was the second straight night that the Red Sox won in dramatic fashion, and they’ll enter Saturday’s Canadian showdown riding a three-game winning streak.
Why is it a “Canadian showdown,” you ask? Well, Ryan Dempster (a British Columbia native) will get the start for Boston, while Scott Diamond (an Ontario native) will toe the rubber for Minnesota. It’ll be the second time this season that the two Canadian-born hurlers will square off, as they also pitched against each other at Fenway on May 7. Dempster suffered the loss in that game behind some spotty Red Sox defense.
Dempster enters Saturday’s tilt having lost his last two starts, including the May 7 contest against the Twins. He was touched up for six runs on seven hits, including three home runs, over five innings on Sunday. The Blue Jays had a field day with Boston pitching en route to a 12-4 win in that game.
The Red Sox are in a much more positive place now than they were following that loss to the Jays, though. Things seem like they’re starting to turn around after a rough patch that saw the Sox lose nine of 12. We’ll see if they can keep things rolling at Target Field on Saturday.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Be sure to get your errands out of the way early. Then, follow the game on NESN and with NESN.com’s live blog.
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