Twins take three of four from Sox behind Justin Morneau’s 2-4 night


Twins take three of four from Sox behind Justin Morneau’s 2-4 night

(May 12, 2008) – Clay Buchholz’s struggles on the road continue. Even an early three runs in the first inning could not turn around the Sox rookie’s misfortune. In one of his shortest outings of the year, Buchholz allowed seven earned runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings while walking five and striking out just four Twins to earn his third loss of the season.

I was right about Roger Clemens. I was right about Jose Canseco. And now I am right about Coco Crisp being the starting center fielder. After getting the start in center against the Cuban right hander Livan Hernandez, Crisp continued his red hot hitting with a double off the baggy in right field. Crisp deserves to be playing over rookie Jacoby Ellsbury because he is producing on the field. The Sox veteran outfielder would come around to score on an opposite field base hit to left off the bat of David Ortiz to give the Sox the 1-0 lead.

Just three homeruns shy of 500 career homeruns, Manny Ramirez stepped to plate, with Ortiz on first after recording his 29th RBI of the season. With one swing the bat the Red Sox had the early 3-0 lead and Ramirez was narrowed his road to the magical number 500.

But the Sox only lead of the game would be short lived. Minnesota started mounting their come back in the bottom of the first with one out. After Carlos Gomez struck out looking at a Buchholz fastball, second baseman Brendan Harris – who returned to the line up after sitting out with a strained hamstring in games two and three – singled into center. The American League leader in batting, catcher Joe Mauer, moved Harris to second with a single of his own in left.

The game was not starting out the way Buchholz would have liked and would continue to get worse. Twins first baseman Justin Morneau lined a base hit into right field scoring Harris. Sox right fielder J.D. Drew’s bobble picking up the base hit allowed Mauer to score from first and Morneau to move up to second.

Minnesota took the lead two innings later when Mauer led of the bottom of the third with walk followed by a base hit into right by Morneau, sending the Twins catcher to third. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer would drive in Mauer with a single up the middle to tie the game at three a piece. After last night’s hero Craig Monroe walked to load the bases in the inning with nobody out, left fielder Delmon Young, hit a ground ball to Alex Cora at short but the Sox shortstop could not turn the double play. In the back door, came Morneau with the go-ahead run and eventually the winning run. But the Twins were not done with Buchholz yet. They tacked on four more runs in the next inning and a third before he was pulled by Terry Francona. The Twins would put three more on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Just like the Celtics and the Cavaliers a few miles to the southeast in Cleveland, the Sox offense was quieted by the Twins pitching staff. Buchholz was not on his game tonight. From the first inning it was evident the Sox young right hander had difficulty finding the strike zone and the normally impatient Twins jumped on that. When he was off he was way off, similar to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett tonight, being held to a combined 28 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists against the Cavs. They could not buy a point if they wanted, just as Buchholz could not pay his way out of jam if he wanted. And again also like the C's, poor Buchholz's road blues continue although, fortunately for the right hander it is the regular season and not the playoffs.

Before flying back to Boston, the Sox have one last stop in Baltimore to play the AL East foe, Orioles for a two game set tomorrow and Wednesday. Josh Beckett will get the nod in the first game of the series against Baltimore right hander Jeremy Guthrie.

At 4-2, Beckett is making his seventh start of the season and first against the Orioles this year. The Sox ace is currently seventh in the American League in strike outs just 10 behind Chicago White Sox starter Javier Vazquez who leads with 52 strike outs. Beckett is coming off a 5-1 win against the Tigers last Thursday where he pitched seven innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out eight and walking none. Overall he is 4-1 against the Orioles, in six starts, with a .229 opponent’s batting average, 38 strike outs and just four walks.

This game shall be a good one because Guthrie is 1-3 on the season with a 4.32 ERA and 32 strike outs on the season. He is coming off a 6-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics where he did not factored into the decision. In Baltimore’s 14th one run game of the year, Guthrie went 5.2 innings allowing four runs on five hits while walking three and striking out six on 106 pitches. In his career against Boston, he is 0-0 in four games with a 2.61 ERA, a .259 opponent’s batting average, 12 strike outs and eight walks.

WIN: Livan Hernandez (6-1)

LOSS: Clay Buchholz (2-3)


Game Notes:

Julio Lugo suffered a mild concussion when he slid collided with Twins second baseman Matt Tolbert Friday night. He just resumed baseball activities today and the Red Sox medical personnel will decide when the shortstop will return to game-action.

Sean Casey was activated earlier today and is in the starting line up. To make room for Casey on the active roster the Sox designated pitcher Julian Tavarez for assignment. Tavarez was expendable since he was one of the only pitchers on the team not useful with the majority of the pitching staff going 6-7 innings a game thus rendering his position on the team wasteful.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Justin Morneau, MINNESOTA --- 2-4 RBI
  1. Michael Cuddyer, MINNESOTA --- 2-4 RBI
  1. Manny Ramirez, BOSTON --- 2-3 Homerun, 2 RBIs

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