Alex Cora had a decision to make heading into the eighth inning of Monday night’s game at Target Field.
Rick Porcello was absolutely dealing for the Boston Red Sox, having coasted through seven scoreless innings in which he only allowed four hits while striking out eight Minnesota Twins. And at just 94 pitches, Porcello was in position to take on the eighth.
But Cora instead opted to pull his starter in favor of Colten Brewer, who logged his fifth straight scoreless outing before giving way to Ryan Brasier. The two right-handers combined to allow just one hit over the final two frames as Boston claimed the series opener over Major League Baseball’s best.
The Red Sox manager admitted he was “a little bit” tempted to let Porcello tackle the eighth, but Cora didn’t want to let history repeat itself.
“We went through this once already, so I’m a quick learner,” Cora said, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith.
Cora is referring to Porcello’s outing May 17 against the Houston Astros. With the Red Sox clinging to a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning at Fenway Park, Cora gave Porcello a bit too long of a leash, and the right-hander allowed a go-ahead, two-run homer to George Springer in Boston’s eventual 3-1 loss. The second-year skipper played it safe this time around, and his decision paid off.
“I asked Rick and he was very honest, which is great,” Cora said.
“Matchup-wise, Brewer makes sense with a lot of those guys and obviously Brasier was fresh.”
The Red Sox now have won six straight heading into the middle game against the Twins. A Boston victory Tuesday night would mark Minnesota’s first three-game losing streak of the season.
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