BOSTON — Stephen Drew has a resume that says he can hit, and hit with power. That’s why the Red Sox signed the veteran shortstop to a one-year free-agent contract during the offseason.
Now, after being slowed by a concussion suffered when he was hit in the head by a pitch in spring training, Drew is starting to show the Sox what they thought they were getting.
“I mean it’s more or less trying to get into a rhythm,” Drew said after his fourth hit of the game, a double with two out in the 11th inning, gave the Red Sox a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins, ending Boston’s three-game losing streak. “I’ve been working on some things and tonight was just a good night for me.”
After Chris Parmelee made a diving catch in right-center field for the second out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia reached on an infield hit when loser Jarod Burton (0-1) rushed his throw to first and threw wide; and took second on Will Middlebrooks’ single. Drew then ended the 4-hour, 44-minute game with his third RBI of the game. He drove the ball over the head of Ryan Doumit, a catcher playing left field at the end of the game.
“He’s been swinging the bat much better of late,” manager John Farrell said of Drew. “A big night for him. The one thing we’ve talked to Stephen about is that over the past 10 days or so, it’s almost like the end of spring training for him with the number of at-bats he’s starting to compile and you see his timing is getting better and better.”
Drew, who also hit one of three Red Sox solo homers, entered the game hitting .182 with just 12 hits. He ended the game at .225, with two homers and 12 RBIs. It was the 13th four-hit game of his career.
Clayton Mortensen (1-2) worked 2 1/3 innings to get the win. He lost in relief Sunday in Texas.
“You can’t say enough about what Morty did,” said Farrell, who was running out of pitchers and had Tuesday night starter Ryan Dempster available had the game gone much longer.
Said Mortensen: “It’s huge. It’s for our team, coming off a tough series from Texas and come home and win a late one like this, it’s huge. So we’re all feeling pretty good in here now.”
But the win may have been costly for the first-place Red Sox (21-11). After surrendering Brian Dozier’s game-tying homer in the ninth for his second blown save in three Fenway Park chances, Joel Hanrahan, who has already had one stint on the disabled list, had to leave the game with a right forearm strain. He will have an MRI and be further evaluated Tuesday.
All this on the day the Red Sox had to put reliever Andrew Bailey, the team’s other closer, on the disabled list.
Boston had completed a rally from a 4-1 deficit when Dustin Pedroia, who had gone 184 at-bats without a home run, hit his first homer of the season leading off the eighth for a 5-4 lead. “A hell of an at-bat,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Pedroia.
Clay Buchholz failed in his bid to become the first seven-game winner in the major leagues and was on the hook for his first loss before his mates came back.
Drew, incorrectly called out at home in the fifth inning, hit a solo homer (his second RBI of the game) when he connected off Casey Fien in the seventh. Pedroia, who last homered Sept. 11, then hit a 3-2 pitch to put Boston in front.
David Ortiz, who went 1-for-4 and grounded into two of Boston’s four double plays, followed the Pedroia homer, Boston’s third solo shot of the night, with a double, extending his 2012 hitting streak to his first 14 games. He has hit safely in 26 in a row dating back to last July 2.
Buchholz, who came in 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA, gave up four runs and was taken off the hook when Boston rallied with runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Buchholz finished with a 1.60 ERA, yielding more than two runs for the first time in seven starts.
After Mike Napoli’s 32nd RBI of the season made it 4-3 in the sixth, Drew, who drove in a fifth-inning run before the missed call by plate umpire Cory Blaser, homered off Fien.
Vance Worley, who came in 0-4 with a 7.72 ERA as a Twin, worked five innings and left with a 4-2 lead the bullpen couldn’t hold; the Twins losing their third game in the last four to drop to 13-15.
“It was a really good ball game,” said Gardenhire. “It kind of went back and forth and we end up losing there after a tough night.”
Shane Victorino hit his first Red Sox homer leading off the fourth.
NOTES: After serving as the designated hitter in Cleveland on Sunday to rest his sore body, Minnesota’s Justin Morneau was back at first base. He went 1-for-5 with two RBIs. … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Buchholz’s microscopic ERA coming in was the lowest by a Boston pitcher through six starts since Roger Clemens posted a 0.73 ERA in 1991. The two first-inning runs matched the high Buchholz allowed in any game over the first seven starts. … The Red Sox placed Bailey on the DL (retroactive to April 29) with right biceps inflammation after an MRI showed no structural damage. The Sox activated LHP Craig Breslow, fresh off a rehab stint (five games) after missing the first month with a sore shoulder. Breslow worked a perfect eighth and was in line for the win before Hanrahan blew the save. … Dempster, who has won his last two starts (allowing four hits in both), faces Minnesota LHP Scott Diamond, who has had three straight quality starts, in Game 2 of the four-game set.