It was a pitcher’s duel in every sense of the term.
Rick Porcello and José Berríos went blow-for-blow Monday night, but it was Porcello’s seven shutout innings that won out as the Boston Red Sox took a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Porcello hushed the potent Minnesota attack, limiting them to four hits while striking out eight as the Sox pushed their winning streak to six games against baseball’s best team.
The right-hander tossed 94 pitches (68 strikes) and was an absolute master of the strike zone, setting up his fastball with a slow, looping curveball that kept Twins hitters guessing all night. While Porcello is far from a fire-baller, his fastball served as a putaway pitch Monday.
“He did a tremendous job mixing up his pitches, using the fastball in certain spots,” manager Alex Cora told reporters after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “That’s the best lineup in baseball. He kept them off balance, weak contact. He was in control.”
Not only was Porcello dominant, but he was also timely, giving one of his best efforts one day after the Sox used seven arms out of the bullpen against the Baltimore Orioles.
“He gave us what we needed. We were very limited today in the bullpen and we needed him to get deep into the game,” Cora added. “And he did more than that. He dominated for seven and gave us a chance to win the game.”
Porcello improves to 5-6 on the season with a 4.31 ERA, and his numbers at Target Field continue to be dizzying.
Here are some other notes from Monday’s Red Sox-Twins game:
— The win bumps the Red Sox’s winning streak to six games, the longest of the season thus far.
— Colten Brewer made a bit of an adventure out of the eighth inning after allowing a base hit and a walk to start the frame.
But the righty managed to escape unscathed after a beneficial base-running blunder by the Twins. And while the Boston bullpen has taken its fair share of lumps, Brewer has been putting together a nice stretch of late.
— Xander Bogaerts continues to tear the cover off the ball.
The shortstop was one of just two Red Sox with multiple hits on Monday night, and his second was an awfully important one. Bogaerts laced an RBI double to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth.
It also was the 300th career extra-base hit for the 26-year-old.
— Michael Chavis has quietly picked things back up.
While still struggling with the strikeout, the 23-year-old has put together a seven-game winning streak. Chavis is batting .345 during the streak and has raised his batting average from .247 to .261 over that stretch.
— One day after playing their longest game of the season (four hours, 44 minutes), the Red Sox and Twins wrapped up their series opener in a crisp two hours and 43 minutes.
Thumbnail photo via Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports Images