The Red Sox took the field on Sunday hoping to not be swept by the Minnesota Twins after dropping the first three games over the series. Franklin Morales was pitching for Josh Beckett who tweaked his back during his last start. Morales has previously been nothing short of brilliant when he was in the rotation and the Sox would need him to continue that trend.
Morales did not disappoint. Morales pitched 6 strong innings while only allowing one run. He definitely looked like someone who deserves to stay in the rotation. Other than issuing a walk here or there, Morales was just cruising through the lineup. Morales had one of his infamous pick offs in the 3rd inning when Mastroianni took a little too bit of a lead from first base. Morales gave up his one and only run in the 5th with a sac fly from Revere to score Casilla. Morales was done after 6 innings and was in line for the win if the bullpen did their job. His line for the night was 106 pitches, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB and 4 Ks.
The offense wasn’t on fire last night, but they did well enough to get a win at the end of the day. The Sox cracked the scoreboard first in the 3rd inning. Aviles started the inning with a single and the Ellsbury hit a double to get Aviles over to 3rd with no outs. Crawford hit an RBI groundout and Aviles scored. Sox 1-0. Gonzo hit an RBI single to score Ellsbury and the Sox had a 2-0 lead. When the Twins got themselves a run, the Sox bats got right back to it when Gonzo hit a 2 run HR to the Monster in the 5th. Sox 4-1. The Sox added another run in the 7th when Cody Ross hit an RBI single to score birthday boy Carl Crawford 6-1. Thank goodness that the Sox got all those insurance runs because they would need them.
Mark Melancon took the mound in the 7th to replace Franklin Morales and he had himself a nice 1-2-3 inning. Melancon gave up a leadoff double to Carroll to start the 8th inning, but then got himself two quick outs. Bobby V went with Craig Breslow with Joe Mauer coming to the plate. This is the move many people felt Bobby V should have done the night before when Alfredo Aceves was on the mound. Breslow did his job and got Mauer to groundout to end the inning.
Vicente Padilla took the mound in the 9th and had a 6-1 lead to protect. Padilla gave up three runs while not being able to record an out. Padilla gave up a solo HR to Willingham. Sox 6-2. Padilla then walked Morneau and then gave up a 2 run HR to Doumit. Sox 6-4. Suddenly this game started to feel very tight. Alfredo Aceves was up and ready in the bullpen. Bobby V went to get Padilla and went with his closer. Aceves was coming off a game where it was an understatement to say he struggled. Aceves got the job done on this night. He got a fly out, a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning. Phew.
The water is finally dirty. Losing a series to the struggling Twins is not what we expected, but at least we were not swept. The Sox are still one game under 500 and are about to face those Texas Rangers. I’ll be crossing my fingers. Feel free to join me.
Red Sox 6 Twins 4 BOXSCORE