FORT MYERS, Fla. — Good evening from JetBlue Park and tonight’s Twins-Red Sox game. John Lester is scheduled for five innings and he will be facing a representative Twins lineups.
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Middle of the 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox coming up: Lester walked Carroll with one out. Mauer then hit a shot shot back to the mound. Lester grabbed the ball and wheeled to throw to second. But he bounced his throw and everybody was safe. Throwing to bases continues to be an issue for Lester. It’s a mental block he needs to overcome.
Morneau flied to left and Willingham struck out.
Top of the 2nd: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Ground out, ground out and ground out.
Middle of the 2nd: Twins 1, Red Sox 0: Singles by Ploufe, Burroughs and Benson gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Butera bunted to push the runners up but Casilla and Carroll grounded to third.
Top of the 3rd: Twins 1, Red Sox 0: Ortiz drew a leadoff walk. But that was it. McDonald flied to right and Kroeger and Shoppach whiffed.
Middle of the 3rd: Twins 1, Red Sox 0: Lester hit Mauer before Morneau grounded into a force. Then Spears turned a nifty 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Top of the 4th: Twins 1, Red Sox 0: The Sox went in order as Hendricks fanned Repko and Spears. No hits for the home team yet.
Middle of the 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Rough outing for Lester. He hit Ploufe. Burroughs them doubled to the corner in left. Benson fouled out but Butera singled through a drawn-in infield. Casilla hit a rocket that Ciriaco plucked out of the air at second base (he swapped positions with Spears before the inning). Carroll ended the inning with a fly ball to center.
Top of the 5th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: The legendary Pedro Ciriaco doubled to start the inning facing Jason Bulger and scored on a single by Youkilis. Ortiz followed with a blast to the triangle. Benson made a Willie Mays catch, catching up to the ball and catching it with his back to the plate. Ortiz tipped his helmet to Benson. It was as good a catch as you’ll see all season given how far Benson had to go.
McDonald and Kroeger grounded to first to end the inning.
Lester is done: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP, 81 pitches (yikes) / 47 strikes.
Middle of the 5th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: Andrew Miller had an Andrew Miller inning. He walked Mauer then struck out two before getting a groundout.
Top of the 6th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: 1-2-3 inning for Bulger. Andrew Bailey out of the bullpen now.
Middle of the 6th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: Perfect inning for Bailey with two strikeouts. Lars Anderson is now playing left field. That’s a first. Bobby V is insane!
Middle of the 8th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: No change in the score. But I can tell you that Jon Lester felt fine and was just “a little out of whack” and that Andrew Miller’s left elbow felt fine. He’ll pitch again on three days’ rest, multiple innings.
Middle of the 9th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: One last chance for the Sox, who have been held to four hits.
Game over: Twins 2, Red Sox 1: The Red Sox could have wrapped up at least a tie for the coveted Mayor’s Cup. But no, the Twins come in to JetBlue Park and pull off the victory. There’s dancing on Ben C. Pratt Parkway.
Ryan Lavarnway and Bryce Brentz (there he is again) had one-out singles. Dan Butler struck out swinging after a tough at-bat. Tony Thomas, who was obtained from the Cubs last spring in the big Robert Coello deal, struck out to end it.
But Duke lost to Lehigh in the NCAA tournament, so it was a good night.