Final: Red Sox 4, Twins 0
The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak, in which they were outscored 25-5, with a 4-0 shutout of the Minnesota Twins before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,234.
Despite a rain delay of 2 hours and 7 minutes, Clay Buchholz came out and pitched 5 scoreless innings of 2-hit baseball to pick up his third win of the season. Boston's bullpen, meanwhile, held it down with four relievers combining to preserve the shutout.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games, delivered a huge blow in the eighth with his 2-RBI single up the middle with the bases loaded to give the Sox (15-18) the buffer they needed to put the wraps on this victory.
Bottom of eighth: Red Sox 4, Twins 0
With two out, the Sox tacked on a pair of runs when Jacoby Ellsbury, who kept extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a lead-off double in the first, drove in a pair of runs with his bases-loaded single up the middle off Twins reliever Alex Burnett. It scored Jarrod Saltamacchia and Carl Crawford, both of whom reached on singles. When J.D. Drew drew a pinch-hit walk, it set the stage for Ellsbury.
Top of eighth: Red Sox 2, Twins 0
Bard has entered the game for Albers, who threw a scoreless inning of one-hit relief in the seventh. After retiring the Twins in 1-2-3 fashion, there are now three outs left. It'll be up to Jonathan Papelbon to bring the Sox home.
Middle of seventh: Red Sox 2, Twins 0
Matt Albers came into the game in the seventh in relief of Hill (1 inning pitched, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 hit batter) and held it down for the Sox, allowing one hit while recording one strikeout (on a 95-m.p.h. four-seam fastball). Who knew he could bring such heat? At any rate, Albers tacked on another scoreless inning of relief to his resume this season. Seven of his eight outings overall have been scoreless, while four have been hitless. Looks like he did his job and will turn it over to Daniel Bard in the eighth. The Sox look like they have everything perfectly aligned to get to closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.
Top of sixth: Red Sox 2, Twins 0
Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill is now in the game in relief of Buchholz, who gave the team five scoreless innings, the last three coming after a 2-hour rain delay. While it may have come one inning shy of qualiyfing as a quality start, Buchholz was sublime nonetheless.
Bottom of third: Red Sox 2, Twins 0
Kevin Youkilis, who was penciled in as designated hitter for the third time this season, gave the the Sox a 2-0 lead when he drilled a wallbanging RBI single to left. It scored Adrian Gonzalez, who reached base on a ground-rule double to right off reliever Kevin Slowey. Maybe the rain delay was redemptive.
Middle of third: Red Sox 1, Twins 0
We've resumed play after a rain delay of 2 hours 7 minutes. Buchholz returned to the mound and submitted a tidy 1-2-3 inning. Brian Duensing, however, has not. He departed after 2 innings pitched, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 33 pitches, 21 for strikes.
Top of third: Red Sox 1, Twins 0
After a few flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder, crew chief Joe West signaled for the grounds crew to bring out the tarp. We're under a rain delay here at Fenway, where it's 1:53 p.m.
Middle of second: Red Sox 1, Twins 0
The change of scenery may have not agreed with Lowrie, who commited yet another fielding error (his third in two games and fifth overall on the season) which allowed Michael Cuddyer to reach base. Buchholz wound up striking out the next two batters he faced before Scutaro made a tremendous diving stab of Rene Rivera's ground ball up the middle and made a shovel pass to Dustin Pedroia for the force out of Cuddyer at second base. It is now raining softly at Fenway, where the partly sunny skies have been chased by rain clouds.
Bottom of first: Red Sox 1, Twins 0
The day after committing two fielding errors at shortstop, the first of which resulted in two runs scored in the four-run fifth inning of Friday night's 9-2 loss to the Twins, Jed Lowrie, who was penciled in at third today, seemed to atone with his RBI single to left that scored Jacoby Ellsbury (lead-off double to left) with Boston's first run.
Middle of first: Red Sox 0, Twins 0
Buchholz, who missed his turn last Sunday because of flu-like symptoms but came back the next day to pick up his second win of the season in a 9-5 triumph over the Angels,, looked to have a tidy inning. It would've been of the 1-2-3 variety had Justin Mourneau not beat out the throw from shortstop Marco Scutaro to first for a base l hit. Buchholz took care of matters when he froze Jason Kubel with a 93-mile-per-hour 2-seam fastball.
Greetings from Fenway Park where it's Cancer Awareness Day. We're about to get underway. The Red Sox (14-18) will send Clay Buchholz to the mound to oppose the Twins (12-18) and their starter Brian Duensing. There's partly sunny skies overhead and it's 70 degrees. A perfect day for baseball.
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