MINNEAPOLIS — The Boston Red Sox came to Target Field on Friday night looking to avenge a series loss to the Minnesota Twins last week at home and won the series opener 3-2 in a tightly contested 10-inning game.
With the score tied in the 10th, the Red Sox manufactured the winning run. Dustin Pedroia led off with a single to right, followed by a walk to David Ortiz. Will Middlebrooks moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and Pedroia scored on Jonny Gomes’ sacrifice fly to center.
In the bottom of the inning, reliever Koji Uehara entered the game and shut down the Twins to pick up his first save of the season. The win went to Alex Wilson, his first of the season.
Although neither starter figured in the final decision, both pitched well.
Boston’s Clay Buchholz, trying for an American League-leading seventh win, started strong, but the Twins worked him for a couple of runs in the middle innings. He left after throwing 110 pitches in seven innings, giving up four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
Twins starter Lance Worley, in one of his better outings of the season, threw 99 pitches in six innings, giving up six hits and four walks with one strikeout.
The Twins’ defense kept Worley in the game against a tough-hitting Boston lineup with three double plays. The pitching staff has now induced 39 double-play balls — they were tied for fourth in baseball coming into the game.
With a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Brian Duensing relieved Worley and quickly got in a jam. He walked Gomes and gave up singles to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury, scoring Gomes to tie it.
The Red Sox collected 10 hits in the game and Ortiz, who was 2 for 18 against the Twins last week in Boston, turned the tables and got three of them, knocking in the first Red Sox run.
The Red Sox struck first when Daniel Nava hit a one-out grounder up the middle in the first inning. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier made a great scoop behind the base but also made an ill-advised, off-balance throw to first that landed among the TV cameras.
Nava was awarded second, went to third on Pedroia’s groundout and scored on a single to right by Ortiz.
Buchholz retired the first six batters (five in row by strikeouts), but Trevor Plouffe led off the third with a double. He scored when Pedro Florimon golfed a slow curveball into the right-field seats for his second homer of the season and 2-1 Twins lead.
NOTES: The Red Sox have scored 197 runs this season, which is third in the major leagues. … The Twins have scored 80 runs in the month of April, tying them with Tampa Bay for the second most in baseball for the month. … Red Sox batters lead the major leagues with 147 extra base hits — they came into the game tied for the major-league lead in doubles (93, with the Chicago Cubs). … The Twins pitching staff has walked just 88 batters this season, the fewest in baseball.