After a tough loss on Friday night, the Red Sox bounced back to take two of three from the Minnesota Twins over the weekend in Minneapolis.
The bats were quiet for the Red Sox most of Friday night. They managed only one run off of six hits through eight innings, before getting three hits and two runs to tie the game in the top of the ninth. But with two outs in the bottom half of the inning Joe Mauer ended it with a solo shot to center. Mauer’s first career walk-off home run gave the Twins the 4-3 win.
After heating up in the ninth inning Friday night, the Sox bats stayed hot Saturday. Chris Young, who pinch hit for Jackie Bradley Jr. in the ninth inning Friday night and drove in the game-tying runs, went 2-for-5 on Saturday with two solo home runs. Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs, while Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon collected three hits each in the 11-1 Sox win.
The Sox hitters continued to pound the baseball on Sunday, but it was actually a lot closer than the 17-6 final score would indicate. Chris Sale struck out 10, but allowed four runs on four hits and three walks. The Sox led 7-6 with just one out and a runner on third in the bottom of the eighth when John Farrell went to his closer. Craig Kimbrel came in to strike out Joe Mauer and Max Kepler and get the Sox out of the jam.
The 10-run ninth inning overshadowed Farrell’s decision to go to Kimbrel with the tying run at third base in the bottom of the eighth inning. What was evident at the time and obvious in hindsight is that the last two outs of the eighth inning were the two most important outs of the game for the Red Sox. Good for Farrell to recognize that. If the Sox blow that lead, maybe the ninth inning plays out differently. A big win for the sabermetricians, too.
It was also good to see Farrell play the hot hands for the most part. With Bradley Jr. struggling, now batting just .175 on the season, it was good to see him stick with Chris Young and get rewarded. Sandy Leon also looked like a beast over the weekend, upping his average 50 points in two days with five hits, three home runs and five runs batted in.
The Sox are off today. They’ll finish up their six-game road trip with three games at Miller Park in Milwaukee this week.