MINNEAPOLIS — The Red Sox scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday night. They then boarded a flight here and settled into their hotel beds around 4 a.m.
As his team got ready for batting practice before Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins, manager John Farrell was asked whether momentum, that hard-to-define quality, travels overnight across state lines.
Farrell laughed. “That’s a good question,” he said. “I guess we’ll find out.”
Turns out maybe it does as the Red Sox beat the Twins, 3-2, in 10 innings before 30,210 at Target Field.
Jonny Gomes’s sacrifice fly was the difference as the Sox won their third straight game.
Clay Buchholz and three relievers retired the final 17 Twins in a row. Rookie Alex Wilson got his first major league victory with Koji Uehara getting his first save with the Sox.
Josh Roenicke (1-1) started the 10th inning for Minnesota. Dustin Pedroia singled before David Ortiz (3 for 4) walked. Will Middlebrooks then put down his first sacrifice bunt since 2008, his first year as a professional when he played rookie ball with Lowell.
The Twins intentionally walked Stephen Drew to load the bases. Gomes delivered a sacrifice fly to center. Aaron Hicks had no chance to throw out Pedroia at the plate.
Uehara then set down the Twins.
Minnesota starter Vance Worley came into the game 1-4 with a 7.15 earned run average. Opponents were hitting .379 against him with a lofty .977 OPS.
But he held the Red Sox to one unearned run over six innings.
That run came in the first inning. Daniel Nava reached on an infield single and went to second when second baseman Brian Dozier threw the ball way. Nava scored on a two-out single by Ortiz.
The Sox had runners on base in every inning against Worley and did not score off him again. Pedroia twice grounded into double plays to end innings.
Worley left after 99 pitches. He allowed six hits and walked three.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had lefthander Brian Duensing start the seventh inning despite the Red Sox having Gomes leading off.
Gomes, whose chief value is his ability to hit lefties, drew a walk. Gomes then took third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to right.
Slumping Jacoby Ellsbury was next and he hit the first pitch he saw hard up the middle. It deflected off the glove of shortstop Pedro Florimon for an RBI single that made it 2-2.
It was only the second time in 14 games that Ellsbury drove in a run. He was in a 6-for-49 slump before the single.
Nava struck out for the second out. Pedroia had yet another chance with men on base and popped to second against righthander Casey Fien. Pedroia was one of the hottest hitters in baseball coming into the game with hits in 20 of his last 43 at-bats.
The Sox threatened against Minnesota’s third reliever, righthander Jared Burton, in the eighth inning. Drew doubled with two outs before Gomes walked. But Mike Carp struck out looking.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz retired the first six Twins in order, striking out five in a row. That burst of perfection ended when Trevor Plouffe, 0 for 7 in his career against Buchholz, doubled to the gap in right field.
It was the kind of play usual right fielder Shane Victorino often makes easily. But Victorino was out with a sore back and Nava was not able to catch up to the ball.
With one out, Florimon hit a curveball down the right-field line for a home run. Florimon has three home runs in 74 games in the major leagues, two coming against the Red Sox this season.
The home run was the first allowed by Buchholz since his first start of the season April 3 against the Yankees, when Travis Hafner connected against him.
The Twins threatened again in the fourth inning when Ryan Doumit and Oswaldo Arcia drew two-out walks. But Buchholz struck out Plouffe swinging at a fastball.
Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning. Hicks singled before Dozier walked and Chris Parmelee singled.
Buchholz struck out Josh Willingham on four pitches, then won a six-pitch showdown against Justin Morneau by getting him on a fly ball to left field.
Buchholz went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out nine. The righthander has a 1.78 ERA after nine starts.