By Patrick Donnelly and Dan Myers
Special to MLB.com |
MINNEAPOLIS -- Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBIs and Steven Wright cruised to his fourth straight win as the Red Sox defeated the Twins, 8-1, on Friday night at Target Field.
In a scoreless game, Bogaerts put the Red Sox on top, 3-0, in the fifth with his homer to left-center off Tyler Duffey (2-5). Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 16 games, finishing with three hits and an RBI, and Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits, including a two-run triple.
Wright (7-4) blanked the Twins into the eighth before Minnesota scratched across an unearned run. The knuckleballer, who lowered his American League-leading ERA to 2.09, struck out six and walked two in 7 1/3 innings.
"I felt pretty good. I didn't feel great early on, but once I got my timing down, everything was working pretty good," Wright said. "When you get run support like that, it makes it a little bit easier to go out there and just throw strikes."
Robbie Grossman singled, walked twice and drove in Minnesota's run with a groundout. The Twins have lost two straight and eight of their past 11 games. Facing a quality knuckleball didn't help matters.
"It's a tough pitch to hit," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "If he throws a good one, it's 'Good luck.' You hope you get a couple mistakes that float more than dive or dart. We swung and missed a lot, so that tells you it was moving."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Dropping the ball: The Twins' inability to turn a double play in the fifth cost them dearly. With a runner on first and one out, Mookie Betts hit a sharp grounder to third base. Trevor Plouffe threw to second to get the force, but Brian Dozier fumbled the exchange and didn't make a relay throw to first. Pedroia followed with a single before Bogaerts blasted his three-run homer into the Boston bullpen.
Wrighting the ship: Wright got Byung Ho Park to strike out swinging with two on and two outs in the fourth to get out of one jam, before navigating out of trouble again the fifth. The Twins used two singles and a walk to load the bases for Joe Mauer, who grounded softly back to Wright, ending the threat.
Three's company: Bogaerts' three-run shot was just the start for Boston, which tacked on three more runs in the sixth to open up a sizable lead. Bradley and Travis Shaw opened with back-to-back hits for Christian Vazquez, who singled in Bradley and knocked Duffey from the game. Pedroia followed with an RBI double two batters later and Bogaerts followed with his fourth hit, an RBI single, through the hole between third and short.
"He's having an unbelievable season. Everything he hits, he's hitting it on the barrel," Pedroia said of Bogaerts. "He's finding ways to drive the ball at huge times and in huge situations. He's been great for us."
"That guy is out of his mind." -- Ortiz, on Bogaerts, who's leading the AL with a .349 batting average and leads the Majors with 88 hits
"If he gets that ball in on Bogaerts a little better, it can change the outlook of his outing. But unfortunately you include every pitch, and that was a big one." -- Molitor, on how one mistake changed Duffey's night
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will make his third start Saturday at 2:10 p.m. ET, looking to rebound from a rough outing last time against the Blue Jays in which he allowed five runs on four hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Rodriguez was outstanding in his only career start against the Twins, giving up just one run on two hits in seven innings at Fenway Park on June 3, 2015.
Twins: Righty Kyle Gibson returns to the mound for the first time since April 22 when he faces the Red Sox on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Gibson has been sidelined with right shoulder strain. He blanked the Red Sox over seven innings in 2014 in his only career appearance against them.