June 17, 2014

G71: Red Sox 2, Twins 1

Twins   - 000 001 000 - 1  4  0
Red Sox - 101 000 00x - 2  8  0
The unstoppable Brock Holt singled, doubled, stole third, and scored twice. Although Jon Lester (6.1-4-1-1-6, 109) threw 33 pitches in the first inning, he was economical enough after that to pitch into the seventh. And with Koji Uehara getting the night off, Edward Mujica pitched a perfect ninth, with two strikeouts.

Boston is now 3-21 when they score fewer than three runs. All three victories have come in the last week: June 10 (1-0 against Baltimore), last night (1-0 against Minnesota), and tonight.

Red Sox pitchers have allowed no more than three runs in any of their last 11 home games (dating back to May 28), the club's longest such streak at Fenway since September 3-28, 1986 (also 11 games).

Holt singled to begin the first inning, lining a 1-1 pitch to left field. He took second on a ground ball to third and scored on Dustin Pedroia's double to the gap in left-center. Pedroia may have been foolish to stretch his hit into two bases, but he executed a masterful headfirst slide, eluding Brian Dozier's tag by sliding to the infield side of the base.

With two outs in the top of the third, Dozier lifted a fly ball to left-center. Jonny Gomes stood stock still in left, having lost the ball in the dusky sky. Holt, playing his first game ever in center field and seeing that Gomes had lost track of the ball, sprinted over to left-center, and made a diving catch about 30 feet behind where Gomes was standing. NESN's live angle was fantastic because all we saw was Gomes standing still, then this white blur comes into the top right-hand part of the screen, catching the ball and tumbling to the ground! (See video of the catch here.)

Holt was not done electrifying the crowd. He led off the bottom half of the inning by driving the first pitch off the Wall in left for a double. Then, on the very next pitch - a ball to Xander Bogaerts - Holt stole third. X brought Holt home with a sac fly to center.

After Lester's lengthy first inning, which included 11 pitches to leadoff batter Danny Santana and nine more to Josh Willingham, the Sox lefty settled down, retiring 11 Twins in a row before allowing a one-out single in the fifth.

Minnesota got on the board in the sixth when Santana doubled into the left field corner, was bunted to third, and scored on Joe Mauer's double to left. With Mauer representing the potential tying run at second, Lester got Willingham to pop to first and retired Kendrys Morales on a grounder to short.

Lester was at 108 pitches through six innings, but he came out for the seventh and got Oswaldo Arcia on a first-pitch pop-up to Pedroia. Burke Badenhop faced only one batter, retiring Kurt Suzuki on a grounder to third. Craig Breslow walked Eduardo Escobar on four pitches, but got Sam Fuld on a fly to center.

Junichi Tazawa struck out the side in the eighth. Uehara had pitched in each of the last three games and four of the last five, so Mujica got the call for the ninth. He needed only 14 pitches to set down the Twins, fanning Willingham and Morales, and getting Arcia to pop out to Gomes in left.
Phil Hughes / Jon Lester
Holt, CF
Bogaerts, 3B
Pedroia, 2B
Ortíz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Nava, RF
Gomes, LF
Drew, SS
Ross, C
Grady Sizemore has been designated for assignment.

Clay Buchholz's next rehab start will be for Pawtucket on Thursday. He will throw approximately 90 pitches. ... Shane Victorino is likely to rejoin the Red Sox at some point during the upcoming West Coast trip to Oakland and Seattle. ... Will Middlebrooks is rehabbing with the PawSox.

With Buchholz and Felix Doubront finishing up their rehab stints in the near future, the Red Sox will have some tough decisions to make regarding their starting rotation, as Brandon Workman (2.88 ERA) and Rubby De La Rosa (2.84) have been superb. Alex Speier notes that Workman and RDLR have the lowest ERAs among Boston's starters (albeit in fewer starts). Workman's ERA as a starter is 3.21, just a bit better than John Lackey's 3.24 and Jon Lester's 3.33. (By contrast, Doubront (5.12) and Buchholz (7.02) have the worst starters ERAs.)

Boston's OPS+ leader? Brock Holt (129), just ahead of David Ortiz (125) and Mike Napoli (123). Xander Bogaerts has slipped to 118.

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