Righty doesn't cover third, leading to go-ahead run; outfielder drops fly ball in 5-run 8th
By Kerry Walls
Special to MLB.com |
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins showed fight and resiliency the first seven innings Saturday. Starter Kyle Gibson got roughed up for four runs in the first -- including a three-run homer to Jackie Bradley Jr. -- but he had rebounded to toss four scoreless frames before the Red Sox took a one-run lead in the sixth.
"I don't think he was really nervous," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of his starter after the 15-4 loss. "They're swinging the bats well. He had the chance to get off the field with just one [run] and tried to come in on Bradley and turns it into a four-run game right out of the chute."
"It's tough for me to be too excited about that being a good start," Gibson said. "I've worked really hard last year and this offseason to limit big innings like that. But I was able to settle down and put up some zeros. It felt good to be back out there."
Boston's fifth run came via an odd development. Xander Bogaerts singled to lead off the sixth, then raced to third on a David Ortiz ground ball to Brian Dozier into the shift. With third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the right side of second and shortstop Eduardo Nunez covering second for the potential force play, Bogaerts beat Nunez to the bag, then kept on running to an unoccupied third.
"Unfortunately, there's nobody to blame but me," Gibson said. "There's nobody that can cover third base but myself. It will be something I think about in the future. It cost me the run and the team a run as well."
Still, the Twins were in the game until the eighth, when one error to start that frame opened the floodgates, as the Red Sox scored 10 times to turn a close contest into a laugher.
Oswaldo Arcia, who went to right field in the eighth after pinch-hitting, called off center fielder Byron Buxton on a Dustin Pedroia fly ball at the warning track. Arcia had it momentarily, and then didn't. Three pitches later, Bogaerts drove a Ryan Pressly fastball into the left-field seats for a two-run homer, a 7-4 Boston lead, and the beginning to an unpleasant finish for Minnesota.
When all was said and done, Boston scored 10 times on seven hits, three walks, one hit batter, two errors and a wild pitch in the final two frames.
"It was a good game up to [the eighth]," Molitor said. "We overcame a rough start for Gibby in his return. We get back into the game and then we miss a play.
"We've been having trouble on the defensive side not getting outs that we should get. Good teams capitalize on those mistakes. It didn't take long for Bogaerts to hit the homer after the fly ball. There was some other plays at the end that didn't go particularly well, but that was the biggest play of the game, I thought."
After the game, Arcia, through an interpreter, recognized the severity of his blunder.
"After I dropped the ball, the game took a whole different direction," he said. "I know that's my fault."
Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minnesota. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.