After losing three consecutive games, the Red Sox needed a team effort, and boy did they get one.
There were no real individual performances, but little pieces that allowed the Sox to overcome a three-run deficit and turn it into their 21st win of the season.
They scored a run in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth, lightly chipping away at the Twins lead until it finally broke. Then the bottom of the lineup rallied in the 11th inning to get the Red Sox their second extra innings win.
Here are the Four Bases:
First Base: Something was bound to break Clay Buchholz. He came into tonight’s game with a 91.4 percent left on base percentage, as well as a .248 opposing batting average on balls in play. Some would say that he was really good in his first six starts, others would say he was lucky. A game like tonight where he comes back to the mound in the sixth inning with 104 pitches is why Buchholz is one of those starters the Red Sox want to keep.
Second Base: Like him or not, or who he is related to, but Stephen Drew has been doing his job in the No. 9 spot in the lineup. Tonight he went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, including a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 11th. He may have started a little slow, but he has now reached base eight straight games and hit two home runs over that span. It was hard to send José Iglesias down to AAA with a .450 batting average, but Drew deserved a shot. He may surprise.
Third Base: A great stat from Brian McPherson of the Providence Journal: Since Andrew Miller has said he needed to perform better on April 21, he has struck out eight batters and has not allowed a run in six appearances (four innings). Initially I thought that Craig Breslow coming off the disabled list would mean Miller would be designated for assignment, but now both could coexist.
Home Plate: It seemed that Dustin Pedroia was doing everything except hitting home runs. So what does he do tonight? He hits a home run to complete the Red Sox comeback in the eighth inning. Pedroia is now hitting .309 in 2013, and is entrenched in that No. 3 spot in the lineup; if somebody else wants that spot, they will have to beat Pedroia (maybe at cribbage?).
Beyond the Diamond… Word from the Red Sox camp is that Joel Hanrahan left the top of the ninth inning with right forearm tightness. Hanrahan blew the save opportunity, serving up a home run to Brian Dozier, before departing with two outs in the ninth. He will be reevaluated tomorrow. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald quoted John Farrell Monday talking about how Buchholz “has nothing to hide” in regards to his pitching styles. Buchholz came under contraversy when Toronto Blue Jays television analysts Dick Hayhurst and Jack Morris accused Buchholz of putting substances on the ball… NESN.com rcame out with a piece today that quoted David Ortiz saying that he “never considered leaving.” Ortiz had a chance to leave the Red Sox as a free agent, and he decided to sign a two year deal with a Red Sox that could earn him up to $29 million in incentives… Thing seemed be looking up for Jackie Bradley Jr. after the Red Sox sent him to AAA-Pawtucket, but now he’s seemed to have a little set-back, this time injury related. Bradley Jr. is now on the 7-Day Disabled List with right bicep tendonitis. He was hitting .302 in 11 games.
Minor League Scoreboard
Pawtucket Red Sox 5, Gwinnett Braves 1
W – Chris Hernandez (1-2) L – Omar Poveda (2-2)
HR: Mark Hamilton PAW (3), Jordan Parrez GWN (4)
Reading Fightin Phils 3, Portland Sea Dogs 4
W – Matt Barnes (3-1), L – Greg Smith (0-1), S – Brock Huntzinger (7)
HR: Tony Thomas POR (3)
Greenville Drive vs. West Virginia Power Postponed (Rain)
(Photos Courtesy of the Associated Press)