Drew (4 Hits) Walks-Off, Red Sox Finish Comeback

Stephen Drew launched a two-out run scoring single off of the Green Monster, and the Red Sox capped a wild comeback effort – defeating the Minnesota Twins 6-5. Clay Buchholz was a bit rusty in this one (thanks Jack Morris), and he failed in his attempt to become the Major’s first 7-game winner.

Clay was on the ropes out of the gate when Joe Mauer doubled and scored on a Josh Willingham double.  After an RBI single by first-baseman Justin Morneau, Buchholz walked the next two batters to load the bases for the Twins.  Buchholz limited the damage with two clutch strikeouts to Oswaldo Arcia in an eight-pitch at-bat and Aaron Hicks on just three.

Boston tried to answer in the third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off with a double and reached third on a ground-out by Will Middlebrooks.  He’d be stranded there as Stephen Drew struck out and Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to short.

It was 3-0 Twins in the fourth when the Sox finally got a run across on Shane Victorino’s first home-run in a Sox uniform, that just snuck past the fair side of Pesky’s Pole. Dustin Pedroia followed with a single, but was erased on a David Ortiz double-play which effectively ended the rally.

The Twins inflicted their final damage off Buchholz in the fifth when Joe Mauer doubled to lead off the inning.  A single by Willingham set up Morneau for an RBI situation, and the veteran delivered a sac fly to put the lead back to three.  Buchholz pitched a scoreless sixth to give him a final slash of 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9K.  Considering he threw 36 first inning pitches, he came up big to give the weary bullpen a rest, and Farrell could save Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara.

The Red Sox would continue to chip away at the lead with single runs in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th innings.  Stephen Drew provided his 2nd homer in the seventh, and the game was finally tied at 5-all.  Dustin Pedroia stepped up in the next inning – and though he has hit well this season, he had just six doubles to account for all his extra bases on the year.  Pedroia took the tenth pitch of his at-bat (following three straight fouls) into the Monster Seats off of Twins reliever Casey Fien.  Fenway’s faithful exploded in cheers as the Sox completed the comeback and held their first lead of the game, 6-5.  They had a chance for insurance when David Ortiz followed with a double (extending his career-high 26 game hitting streak), and was pinch-run for by Pedro Ciriaco.  Ciriaco committed a terrible blunder when he decided to attempt a steal of third (yes, with Joe Mauer behind the plate), on a ball-four pitch to Saltalamacchia.  Pedro wasn’t close, and he was the third-out/rally killer for Boston.

For the most part, the Sox secondary arms came through out of the bullpen, with Alex Wilson, Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow (first appearance of 2013 since being activated following shoulder inflammation) combining for two shutout innings.  With Andrew Bailey on the DL, Joel Hanrahan was called into the ninth to save the game.  With one-out, 2nd baseman Brian Dozier took Hanrahan deep to left and tied the game, prompting a chorus of boos from the remaining fans.

After getting Mauer to strike out, Hanrahan walked Willingham and appeared to be in some discomfort.  After meeting with Farrell and the trainer, the burly right-hander was pulled and Clayton Mortensen was called upon for the 2nd game in as many nights to attempt to hold a tie (he would lose Sundays game on a Beltre walk-off single).  After the game, it was reported the Hanrahan left with soreness in his right forearm.

Mortensen pitched into extras and provided Boston with a gutsy 2 1/3 scoreless innings, showing no ill-effects of pitching his fourth game in six nights (expect him to be unavailable for tonight’s game).

Jared Burton relieved an excellent Anthony Swarzak (3 scoreless innings), and retired Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava rather quickly.  Salty dribbled a ball just to Burton’s left, and the off-balance throw pulled Morneau off the bag.  Middlebrooks (1 for his last 15 entering the at-bat) followed with a single to left, which brought up Monday’s hero Drew.  The Sox shortstop took the 2nd pitch he saw the other way for the game-winner; the loud bang off the scoreboard seemed to echo forever in the near-empty Fenway. 

Stephen Drew gets mobbed by teammates following his game-winner.

Stephen Drew gets mobbed by teammates following his game-winner.

The home-cooking may be just what the Sox need in the wake of their first series sweep this weekend in Texas.  Ryan Dempster (who had been warming in the pen when Drew provided the game-winner) will take the ball Tuesday night in the 2nd game.  He’ll face Twins lefty Scott Diamond as the Sox look to begin a new winning streak.

Inside the Game

-Dustin Pedroia provided the Sox with his first home-run, and first for the No. 3 spot in the lineup this season for Boston (the last team in MLB to have a homer from the three-hole)

-Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, and Stephen Drew have combined for just four home runs this season, three of them coming in Monday’s series opener.

-Red Sox are now 5-3 in one-run decisions, a year after going 17-22 under Bobby Valentine.

-David Ortiz continued his hitting streak, his 3rd straight game extending it on just one extra base hit (13 0f 23 hits for extra bases now).

-Andrew Miller is quieting his critics, working his 7th straight scoreless outing. His line over that span is just 4 2/3, but has allowed just three hits and a one walk, while striking out 8.

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