Final: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: That's it. Game over. Red Sox were unable to hold a 2-0 lead and John Lackey, despite going seven innings, was unable to pick up the victory as Boston (21-14) lost for the third time in as many games against the Twins (16-15), and for the sixth time in its last seven overall games.
Top 9th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless ninth which got off to an interesting start when leadoff hitter Ryan Doumit grounded to third and reached when Will Middlebrooks was charged with an error when his throw pulled first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag.
Breslow remained unfazed and retired the next three batters he faced on three groundball outs to third, short, and the mound.
Bottom 8th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: After Jared Burton entered in relief of Brian Duensing (1.2 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts) and led off the inning by striking out Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava drew a walk and Will Middlebrooks reached on a fielder's choice to short. Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar, in the game for Pedro Florimon who left in the sixth with a tight hamstring, booted the attempt at a double play, snapping the Twins' streak of 11 consecutive games without an error.
It allowed Nava to reach second and Middlebrooks to reach first.
But Burton got out of the inning when he struck out Stephen Drew (looking) and fanned Mike Carp (swinging) after he had been summoned to pinch hit for David Ross. Craig Breslow relieved Uehara in the ninth while Jarrod Saltalamacchia replaced Ross behind the plate.
Top 8th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Koji Uehara entered the game in relief of Lackey and, just as Lackey did at the outset of the game, struck out the side. Uehara fanned Josh Willingham on an 81 splitter, Justin Morneau on an 89 fastball, and Trevor Plouffe on a 91 fastball.
Bottom 7th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: The Sox were unable to muster a response after Dustin Pedroia drew a two-out walk. David Ortiz, who flew to center, grounded to second, and lined to first in his three previous at-bats, came to the plate with a chance to tie the game and wound up driving a fly ball to center for the last out of the inning.
Koji Uehara entered the eighth in relief of Lackey, who went seven innings and allowed five runs (one earned) on six hits, including a two-run homer, and one walk while striking out eight batters. Lackey threw a season-high 102 pitches (74 strikes).
Top 7th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Lackey kept the Twins in check with a return to form in the seventh, which resulted in a 1-2-3 inning. Lackey punctuated the frame with a strikeout of Joe Mauer to end the inning.
Bottom 6th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: The Sox got one back in this frame and chased Twins starter Kevin Correia (5.1 IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout) out of the game in the process. Mike Napoli, who reached on a double to left off Correia, scored when Daniel Nava followed with an RBI single to right.
After Will Middlebrooks' ground ball to short resulted in the force out on Nava at second, Brian Duensing entered the game in relief of Correia and got Stephen Drew to fly out to left and David Ross to strike out swinging at an 84 slider.
Top 6th: Twins 5, Red Sox 2: The Twins pushed across four unearned runs against Lackey, who likely would have been out of the inning had Justin Morneau been called out on Shane Victorino's throw to the plate as Morneau attempted to score on Ryan Doumit's sacrifice fly to right.
Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale called Morneau safe after he slid beneath the tag of Sox catcher David Ross. As a result, Morneau gave the Twins a 3-2 lead, which grew exponentially when Oswaldo Arcia came up and belted a two-run homer off Lackey into the Sox bullpen, making it 5-2.
Lackey committed a self-inflicted mistake when he was charged with a fielding error on Trevor Plouffe's comebacker to the mound. With men on first and second and one out, Lackey stabbed Plouffe's hit, spun around and misfired to second, allowing Morneau, who walked, to reach second safely and Joe Mauer, who singled to center, to advance to third and score the tying run, making it 2-2.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Sox threatened with two out when Dustin Pedroia hustled down the line to reach on an infield basehit, beating out Trevor Plouffe's throw from third. David Ortiz, however, lined out to first base to end the inning.
Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Lackey gave up a pair of one-out, extra-base hits on consecutive at-bats by Oswaldo Arcia (triple to center) and Aaron Hicks (RBI double to right) to pull the Twins within one run. Lackey appeared to run out of steam as his pitch count crept up and the velocity on his fastball dipped from a high of 94 to a low of 86, but that was before he struck out the last two batters he faced -- Pedro Florimon on a 91 fastball and Brian Dozier on a 92 fastball -- to end the inning.
Lackey has now thrown 74 pitches (54 strikes) and allowed one run on four hits while striking out seven batters.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Stephen Drew ripped a two-out RBI single to center, scoring Daniel Nava, who reached on a single to right, giving the Red Sox a two-run lead. Through four (laborious) innings, Twins starter Kevin Correia threw 71 pitches (42 strikes) and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out one batter, Sox catcher David Ross, to end the fourth.
Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: The Twins again put a runner on base when Justin Morneau singled to left with two out. But Lackey, again, prevented the runner from advancing when he induced Trevor Plouffe to fly to right to end the inning. Through four shutout innings, Lackey has allowed two hits while ringing up five strikeouts.
Bottom 3d: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Red Sox claimed a 1-0 lead when Dustin Pedroia ripped an RBI single up the middle, driving in Shane Victorino, who reached on a hustling double to right off the glove of leaping first baseman Justin Morneau. Victorino reached in his first two at-bats (single to right, double to right). At this pace, Victorino will probably triple to right in his third at-bat.
Top 3d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: After Lackey retired the first eight batters he faced, the Twins finally got a runner aboard when the immortal Pedro Florimon, the No. 9 hitter in Ron Gardenhire's lineup, ripped a single up the middle. The hit came after Lackey made a spectacular stab on Aaron Hicks' line-drive out to the mound. Dozier ended the inning when he grounded to first.
Bottom 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Sox strand another runner after Will Middlebrooks laced a two-out double to left.
J.D. er, Stephen Drew grounded to first to end the inning.
Top 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Lackey, who sandwiched a pair of flyball outs to right around a strikeout of Trevor Plouffe (swinging, 93 fastball). Through two innings, Lackey has thrown 21 pitches, 17 for strikes and has recorded four strikeouts.
Bottom 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Red Sox managed to get just one runner aboard when Shane Victorino laced a one-out single to right. He wound up getting stranded at first when Dustin Pedroia flew to right and David Ortiz flew to center.
Top 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Niiiice start for John Lackey, who struck out the side. Lackey fanned leadoff hitter Brian Dozier on an 88-mile-per-hour cutter, got Joe Mauer swinging on an 84-m.p.h. slider, and blew a 93-m.p.h. fastball past Josh Willingham.
Pregame: Torrential downpours pelted the Fenway area about 1-1/2 hours before the start of Thursday night's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. The Sox (21-13) will send John Lackey (1-2, 3.52 ERA) to the mound for his 299th career start to oppose RHP Kevin Correia (3-2, 2.83). Lackey will be looking to put a halt to the team's skid after the Sox dropped their five out of their last six games Wednesday night in an abominable 15-8 loss to the Twins.
As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.