Rapid reaction: Red Sox 7, Twins 6

April, 25, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shaky starting pitcher, unreliable bullpen, injured outfielder.

This is not a recording.

Clay Buchholz fell off the tightrope he'd been walking all night and was charged with five runs for the fourth straight time this season, and while both he and manager Bobby Valentine felt he was much better Wednesday night, he clearly remains a work in progress.

A 7-1 Sox lead all but evaporated in the sixth, with Joe Mauer singling off Scott Atchison's foot for two runs to make it 7-4. Justin Thomas, in what may well be his last appearance in a Sox uniform, then gave up a run-scoring double to Justin Morneau and beaned Twins first baseman Chris Parmelee that appeared to hit him on the brim of his helmet, the ball caroming in front of the Sox dugout. Trevor Plouffe then singled home a run off Matt Albers, before Albers induced a double-play ball from Sean Burroughs to end the inning.

Red Sox left-fielder Cody Ross, meanwhile, left the game with what was called a sore left knee after striking out in the sixth. The Sox can ill afford to lose another outfielder, with three (Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Repko) all on the disabled list. Manager Bobby Valentine said after the game that he was told Ross should be able to play Thursday night in Chicago.

Valentine, who had told a Boston radio station before the game that he thought Daniel Bard might be available out of the bullpen again Wednesday but thought better of it after talking with Bard, turned instead to Vicente Padilla and Franklin Morales in the seventh and eighth, and was rewarded with six consecutive outs.

Alfredo Aceves was summoned to close out the Twins for the second time in the series. Aceves issued a one-out walk to Plouffe, putting the tying run on base, then fell behind, 2-and-0 to pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit before giving up a line single. Aceves shattered Ben Revere's bat on a tapper that just went fair over the first-base bag for the second out, then hit Alexi Casilla to load the bases.

Aceves then struck out Denard Span to end the game, for his fourth save.

The Sox had not swept the Twins here since winning four straight July 3-6, 2000.

The Sox built an early lead with a four-run second, three scoring on Mike Aviles' fourth home run of the season, added two more in the third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-run single, and scored again in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia tripled and scored ahead of Adrian Gonzalez's opposite-field single.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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