Red Sox pounce for 8-run 2nd inning as part of 16-hit barrage vs. Twins
By Patrick Donnelly
Special to MLB.com |
MINNEAPOLIS -- Red Sox manager John Farrell shuffled his batting order on Saturday, saying he was looking for ways to jump-start a lineup that had struggled to string together hits and produce big innings.
His players responded almost immediately, posting an eight-run second inning en route to an 11-1 victory over the Twins.
"That was great," said outfielder Chris Young, who homered twice in Boston's 16-hit barrage. "We had plenty of days like this last year, and it's still early in the season. The offense is still capable of having days like that."
For the first time this season, Mookie Betts batted leadoff instead of third. Xander Bogaerts moved up into the three hole, and rookie Andrew Benintendi batted cleanup. And while Betts didn't have much of an impact at the top of the lineup, going 0-for-5 with a walk, Bogaerts and Benintendi each had three hits.
It's been a different year for Boston, its first since 2002 without David Ortiz anchoring the middle of the lineup. These Red Sox can't rely on a slugger to carry the team on his back or break open a game with a timely home run. In fact, they entered Saturday tied for the fewest home runs in the Major Leagues this year, and even after Young's two round-trippers and Sandy Leon's ninth-inning blast, they're still last in the American League with 22.
But home runs were an afterthought on a day when eight of the nine Boston starters had at least one hit. Farrell was especially happy to see eight of the 16 hits go up the middle or to opposite field.
"We know and have proven over time we're best when we're using the whole field," Farrell said, "and that was the case today."
The second-inning rally all happened with two outs. Young hit an 0-2 slider from Twins starter Nick Tepesch into the left-field seats, and Leon followed with a single. Josh Rutledge hit a grounder that Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco bobbled, and that opened the floodgates.
After Tepesch walked Betts to load the bases, the Red Sox strung together five straight hits. Dustin Pedroia stroked a three-run double to left-center. Bogaerts singled. Benintendi drove in both runners with a double. Hanley Ramirez singled to score him. Mitch Moreland chased Ramirez home with a double.
That's seven hits, a walk and one costly error that put the whole thing in motion.
"Two outs with an 0-2 count, and to think we scored eight runs after that kind of shows you how crazy this game can be at times," Farrell said.
Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis who covered the Red Sox on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.