The Twins came into the game on a three-game winning streak, and with a tough road trip looming, they needed to at least win the series against Boston.
With Cleveland and Chicago idle, the Twins got the series off to the right start, pulling to within 1.5 games of the Guardians and extending their lead over the third-place White Sox to 3.5 games.
After a pair of fairly nondescript innings for both teams, the Red Sox went single, double, single in the top of the third, scoring the game’s first run off of Twins starter Dylan Bundy. The final single, by Xander Bogaerts, was played exceptionally well by Gilberto Celestino in center field and the Alex Verdugo had to be held at third.
Win only one out, Bundy did an impressive job getting out of the inning without any further damage. Rafael Devers whacked a sinking liner into right field, and Max Kepler came in and made a fantastic diving catch. Inexplicably, Verdugo had strayed off third base and didn’t return to tag up, even as Kepler was prone on the outfield grass. With two outs and runners still on the corners, Bundy was able to get J.D. Martinez to strike out to end the inning with the Twins only down 1-0.
In the bottom of the frame, the Twins got singles from Celestino and Luis Arraez. Carlos Correa hit a bouncing ball to third, but Devers didn’t realize there was only one out and stepped on third base while jogging toward the dugout instead of attempting to turn an inning-ending double play. Kepler almost made him pay, crushing a ball to the warning track in center field. But Franchy Cordero gloved it, and that was that.
The top of the fourth was eerily similar to the third, as Bundy allowed the Red Sox to put runners on first and second base but ultimately avoided as much damage as perhaps he should have allowed. After a popout from Christian Arroyo, Reese McGuire dropped a double down the left field line that allowed Trevor Story to score from second. However, Cordero was held at third, and Bundy wriggled out of any additional trouble by getting Tommy Pham to ground out sharply to Gio Urshela at third and Verdugo to strike out.
The Twins did their best Red Sox impression in the bottom of the fourth, as Jose Miranda and Nick Gordon each singled and Urshela walked to load the bases. Jake Cave lashed a sacrifice fly to medium-deep center field to score the all-important first run, but Celestino flew out and Leon grounded out to end the inning.
The Red Sox managed to get two on with two out in the top of the fifth, and Rocco Baldelli pulled Bundy in favor of Caleb Thielbar to face Cordero. Boston countered by pinch-hitting old friend Rob Refsnyder, who promptly struck out.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Twins coaxed a pair of walks off of Red Sox starter Brayan Bello, who became increasingly wild as the game went on. With Arraez and Correa on base, Kepler bounced out in front of home plate, allowing both runners to advance, and Miranda walked on four pitches to load the bases. Baldelli sent Kyle Garlick up to pinch-hit for Gordon (who was 2-for-2 at the plate to that point) against lefty Matt Strahm, but Garlick struck out.
In danger of squandering another bases-loaded opportunity, Urshela came through in a big way, poking a double into the right-field corner to clear the bases and give them a 4-2 lead.
Thielbar got through a 1-2-3 sixth inning, and Jhoan Duran came on in the seventh to face the Red Sox 2-3-4 batters, striking out both Verdugo and Bogaerts and getting Devers to bounce out to Correa.
Griffin Jax gave up a one-out single and a stolen base but struck out Refsnyder and Arroyo to get out of the eighth unscathed. Jorge Lopez pitched a clean bottom of the ninth inning, striking out Verdugo for the final out and earning the save.
- For as bad as the Twins played during the six-game losing streak, the Twins have looked exceedingly more prepared and fundamentally sound than both the Giants and Red Sox over the last four games. What a weird turnaround — and it’s not unlike several ups and downs we’ve already seen this season from this head-scratching team.
- The Twins bullpen was phenomenal: 4 1⁄3 IP, only one hit allowed, no walks, and no runs.
- Baldelli had fun with his roster tonight, pinch-hitting Garlick and then subbing Caleb Hamilton for him in the field, sliding Arraez from first to second base. After Hamilton struck out in his lone at-bat (his fifth strikeout in six career at-bats), Baldelli put Miranda at first base in the ninth inning, losing the designated hitter spot. Classic Rocco. Always tinkering.
- Luis Arraez: 2-for-3, BB, R
- Jose Miranda: 1-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R
- Nick Gordon: 2-for-2
- Gio Urshela: 1-for-2, 3 RBI, 2B
- Bullpen: 4 1⁄3 IP, H, 0 BB, 6 K
- Sandy Leon: 0-for-4, 2 K
- Max Kepler: 0-for-4 from the 3-hole (again, for some reason)