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Red Sox score 9 to prevent sweep, snapping Twins’ 12-game win streak

Vaughn Grissom of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after his two-run double against the Minnesota Twins in the eighth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

MINNEAPOLIS – The last time the Red Sox faced Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan in Minnesota, he threw a complete-game shutout.

As such, the laws of cosmic balance in the universe dictated a much-needed big day for the Boston bats. After a three-game losing streak in which they scored no more than two runs in any game and a six-game stretch without a home run, the Red Sox erupted for nine runs on 11 hits. The 9-2 win was their twentieth win of the season and snapped the Twins’ 12-game winning streak, their longest since 1980.

“I’m very happy with this,” said an excited Alex Cora after the match. “We did good, dude. This one, that was a cool win, let’s put it that way.

Ryan was perfect through the first three innings of Sunday’s series finale.

And then he wasn’t. Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Jarren Duran got the charts going with a leadoff double and advanced to third base on Rafael Devers’ first groundout. Rob Refsnyder ended eleven consecutive scoreless innings with a line drive that ended up off Carlos Correa’s glove and into the leftfield corner. Duran easily scored the tying run, and Refsnyder slid into second with a double.

(Refsnyder left the match after the fifth with hamstring tightness, but both he and Alex Cora described the situation as “precautionary.”)

In the next frame, Reese McGuire singled and advanced to second base on an error by the third baseman. He was caught stealing third, but the Red Sox successfully challenged, so when Ceddanne Rafaela stepped up to the plate and hit the team’s first home run since their 17-0 win on April 27, they recorded a 3 -1 lead.

“Reese, he almost gave me a heart attack when he came in third, but he was safe. I don’t know how,” Cora said.

Ryan’s start lasted six innings. He left the field with three runs on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts, but his replacement, Kody Funderburk, would fare worse. After stranding the Red Sox McGuire, who singled again in the top of the seventh, Funderburk faced eight Boston batters in the eighth. The Twins reliever got Duran to hit a sharp grounder, then gave up a single to Devers, a pinch-hit double to Tyler O’Neill to put both men in scoring position, and a walk to Wilyer Abreu to load the bases. to make.

Sunday was only Vaughn Grissom’s second game in a Red Sox uniform after a groin injury cost him the entire slate of spring training games and the entire first month of the regular season. The already skinny infielder was scheduled to debut earlier this week against the San Francisco Giants, then came down with the flu and lost 14 pounds. He is trying to regain his weight by eating more and drinking shakes, but after a big breakfast on Sunday morning he threw up on the field before the game.

“Yes, that’s the first time,” he said. “Stay through it and just fight it out.”

Grissom’s perseverance paid off in the eighth. He doubled high off the centerfield wall for his first career Red Sox hit, driving in a pair and giving Boston some much-needed insurance.

Unsure if he had a grand slam or just extra bases, he quietly turned his bat before taking off for the first base line.

“It was like a hopeful pimp,” he explained, referring to the style of responding to a home run. “It was like a ‘about time something happened’ pimp, you know? In my opinion, there are two types of pimps. The one where you know and you stay in the box and you say, oh well, and then the other one where you hit it and you say, ‘Yes, finally’ and then you run really fast. That was the one I chose.”

The 23-year-old infielder would have had a grand slam in Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, the Bronx, Philadelphia or Toronto, but the Sox scored those extra two runs anyway when Dom Smith skied one to the left and Manuel Margot couldn’t make the catch in the afternoon sunlight. It was strangely fitting for the date: On May 5, 2018, then-Sox closer Craig Kimbrel became the youngest and fastest pitcher to join MLB’s 300 Saves Club. Margot was one of the Red Sox prospects sent to the Padres in the November 2015 trade.

The Sox offense’s big day was complemented by another strong pitching performance from Cooper Criswell, who dominated in his fourth start. Although he couldn’t extend his starting streak of five shutout innings to three, he held the Twins to one earned run over 4 ⅓ innings, giving up five hits, walking one and striking out five. The only blemish on his performance was a solo homer by Ryan Jeffers, which gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

The right-hander showed impressive courage in the bottom of the second inning, as he started the frame by giving up three straight singles to load the bases before getting back-to-back strikeouts and a dribbling forceout that left everyone behind.

“At the time I was trying to get a groundball double play, and once you get two strikes, try to get a swing-and-miss pitch,” Criswell said. The normally mild-mannered, quiet right-hander walked down the mound in considerably more animation than usual, leading to some lighthearted teasing in the dugout.

“I was pretty excited,” he said, smiling. “Some guys joked and said I looked like one of those car dealers with those inflatable things running around.”

Without the long second inning, which brought the Sox starter’s pitch count to 35, he might have hit a full five. But after the right back gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Santana and got the first out, Alex Cora called Saturday’s opener, Brennan Bernardino, and he quickly got the last two outs. Zack Kelly, Cam Booser, Josh Winckowski and Kenley Jansen threw the rest of the way.

“Tough weekend with basically three bullpen games in four games,” Cora said. “Some of the guys got into the big league this weekend… Coop did a great job. Berny opened yesterday, came in today in a big spot and did an excellent job. (Booser) did the same thing.”

Before Jansen took the mound for the bottom of the ninth, the lineup gave him one last boost. Duran hit a one-out triple to the right-field corner, becoming the first player with at least five triples in the team’s first 35 games of the season since Ellis Burks in 1989. Boston’s leadoff man was able to walk home seconds later when Devers burned his fourth home run of the season, a 400-footer that took off at 111.7 mph.

“I was joking with the guys – we have some new coaches – I was like, Raffy never leaves Minnesota without hitting a home run,” Cora said.

“These are the coolest. I know we lost two of three, but we played good baseball the whole time,” the Sox skipper added. “As a manager this is very satisfying because you use everyone. You start planning halfway through the match from Sunday to Saturday, and how are we going to achieve this? Losing two out of three is annoying, but winning this one is very satisfying. It took a total team effort.”