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Red Sox 6, Twins 4: Ninth Inning Comeback Falls Short This Time, Boston Escapes With a Win

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August 5, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn (53) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
August 5, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn (53) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

When the Boston Red Sox entered the ninth inning leading 6-1, I'm sure they thought "This time, our lead is safe. Surely a five-run lead is enough." Then the first three batters of the inning scored.

Josh Willingham homered. Justin Morneau walked. Ryan Doumit homered. Suddenly it was 6-4, and I think it's safe to say that most Boston fans were suddenly not quite so confident. If they ever were.

But Vicente Padilla was pulled immediately (finishing the series with as many runs allowed as outs recorded) in favor of Alfredo Aceves (who allowed all four runs just yesterday), and this time Aceves did his job sitting down the Twins 7-8-9 batters in order. The Red Sox managed to save one game of the four-game series.

Nick Blackburn wasn't at his best, recording just a single 1-2-3 inning while allowing runners to score or reach scoring position in the four other frames he completed. He was around the plate constantly (71% of his 90 pitches went for strikes), which unfortunately doesn't usually work in his favor. Even for a pitcher with multiple offerings, like Blackburn, changing pitch levels and speeds won't fool players when you're always around the plate.

Ben Revere drove in a run in the top of the fifth, so by the time Blackburn was done the Twins were trailing 4-1. Jeff Manship and Luis Perdomo allowed a run each late, giving Boston that five-run lead for the ninth inning. Revere also made a superb over-the-shoulder catch at the wall in center field, leading to a double play that kept the score (momentarily) at 5-1.

Franklin Morales was solid today, allowing just three hits and a trio of walks while striking out four in six innings. Adrian Gonzalez's two-run blast was a huge shot over the monster. Carl Crawford had a three-hit game and stole a base, finishing the series with a 7-for-18 with five RBI and four runs scored.

Studs

Ben Revere
Josh Willingham
Ryan Doumit
Jamey Carroll

Duds

Nick Blackburn
Jeff Manship
Luis Perdomo
Joe Mauer
Brian Dozier