BOSTON (AP) — July just keeps getting better in Boston.
The Red Sox continued their midsummer surge with another offensive barrage, getting 17 hits and routing the Minnesota Twins 13-2 on Thursday night.
After closing out June by losing four of five, the Red Sox are 12-3 in July and standing alone atop the AL East.
“The month of July has been a very good offensive month as we’ve kind of gotten past that stretch in June,” manager John Farrell said. “Just great to see that number of quality at-bats.”
Mookie Betts homered on the first pitch Boston faced and the Red Sox added home runs by Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Ortiz. Boston has won three straight and nine of 10.
The Red Sox managed to outdo their 16-hit total from an 11-7 win against San Francisco on Wednesday night and finished with at least 15 hits for the 15th time this season.
Betts, Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts had three hits apiece and Dustin Pedroia went 5 for 5 with two doubles as Boston climbed to a season-best 15 games above .500 (54-39).
Steven Wright (12-5) tied his career high with nine strikeouts and held Minnesota to four hits in eight innings. He had just set down the Twins in order in the top of the first when Betts gave Boston a 1-0 lead by driving the first pitch he saw from Tyler Duffey out to left-center for his 19th homer.
“Wrighty had a quick inning and I figured we might as well ride that momentum going into our first at-bat,” Betts said. “We were ready to play. Today it was our turn, but tomorrow it could be the opposite.”
Maybe, but not lately in Boston. The Red Sox have won seven straight at home.
The Twins didn’t reach base against Boston’s knuckleballer until the fifth inning and finished with five hits.
“My goal is just to go as deep as I can until they tell me I’m done. Today I was lucky enough to go eight,” Wright said. “It makes it easy when the guys score 11 runs or 12 runs, but today was an all-around good day.”
Wright allowed four hits and Minnesota added a ground-rule double by pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar in the ninth off reliever Clay Buchholz. The former starter came on to finish the game after Ortiz had capped off Boston’s outburst with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.
“It got ugly,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We’ve haven’t had a game like that in a while.”
Boston was up 3-0 after getting four hits against Duffey (5-7) in the first. Betts started it with the homer and Pedroia, Bogaerts and Ortiz followed with consecutive singles.
“They’re a pretty aggressive team. They’re confident,” Duffey said. “When they’re in a groove like that, if you don’t make them uncomfortable they can lean on some stuff.”
Betts hit the first pitch Duffey threw out to left, then led off the third with a single as Boston added three runs and led 6-0. Duffey allowed six runs before being pulled with one out in the third after Bradley doubled for Boston’s ninth hit.
Max Kepler got Minnesota’s first hit, singling with one out in the fifth to start a two-run rally that turned out to be the only offense for the Twins.
The Red Sox were up 11-2 in the eighth when Ortiz continued his farewell tour with his 24th homer, a shot deep into the seats in right field.
Pedroia entered Thursday without a four-hit game so far this season, then went 5 for 5 with three singles and two doubles.
“The thing that you love is when he hits the ball into right field, right-center field. He did it a couple times tonight,” Farrell said. “That’s when his swing is, I think, most pure. He might argue that. He takes pride in being able to turn on some pitches and pulling the ball.”
ONE FOR THE SKIPPER
The win was Boston’s 300th under Farrell, who managed the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series title in his first season at the helm.
“It means I’ve been fortunate to be in a position with a lot of good players and work with a lot of really quality people,” Farrell said.
Twins: OF Bryon Buxton was not in the starting lineup for the Twins as Molitor rested him against Wright’s knuckleball. Buxton was 1 for 9 as Minnesota took two of three games against Detroit.
Red Sox: Plans to get C/LF Blake Swihart (sprained left ankle) a minor-league rehab stint are on hold because of recurring soreness in his ankle. Swihart has been out since severely spraining the ankle on June 4. Farrell said Swihart started feeling the soreness as he increased the intensity of his workouts.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.12 ERA) gets his 12th start of the season for the Twins. Gibson allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings last week against Cleveland.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-3, 7.18) goes for his second straight win. Rodriguez threw seven strong innings in a win over the Yankees on Saturday, allowing one run and four hits.