Bogaerts leads another Red Sox romp, 15-4 over Twins
MINNEAPOLIS >> In this Boston Red Sox lineup that's packed with potent bats, Xander Bogaerts has fast become the best of an imposing bunch.
The 23-year-old shortstop from Aruba has been an awfully tough out at Minnesota this weekend.
Bogaerts tacked four more hits on his majors-most total, including a two-run homer to help the Red Sox break away late to beat the Twins 15-4 on Saturday.
"Bogey's exciting to watch each and every day," manager John Farrell said after Bogaerts followed a 4-for-5, four-RBI night with a 4-for-5, four-run, three-RBI afternoon. He homered for the second straight day and raised his AL-best batting average to .358.
The highest-scoring team in the majors managed to post a season high in runs, with five apiece in the eighth and ninth against the league-worst Twins. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a three-run homer in the first, Sandy Leon went 4 for 4 with two RBIs and David Ortiz had three more hits against his former team. Mookie Betts and Chris Young drove in two runs each.
The Red Sox have outscored the Twins 365-230 this season, including 23-5 in this series.
"I think we're a pretty special offense," Bradley said, adding: "When somebody doesn't get the job done, we have a whole lot of faith in the next person."
Kurt Suzuki hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning off Eduardo Rodriguez, but the Twins managed only one hit against five Red Sox relievers over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Heath Hembree (3-0) was the first one, retiring Byung Ho Park on an infield popup to finish the fifth with two runners on base and the score 4-all.
Rodriguez tied his career high with four walks, in his shortest of three starts since returning from the disabled list.
Kyle Gibson (0-4) pitched for the first time since April 22, returning from the disabled list to quite the test with a team averaging nearly 6 runs per game.
Bogaerts used some heads-up hustle to score the go-ahead run in the sixth. He led off with a single, then beat a relay on a ground ball by Ortiz that second baseman Brian Dozier first bobbled. Ortiz was thrown out at first, but Bogaerts never stopped running and slid safely into third. He scored on a sacrifice fly.
"There's nobody that can cover third base in that situation other than myself," Gibson said. "It's kind of a learn by failure, really."
The play was made possible by the infield shift for Ortiz and the speed and sensibility of the young Bogaerts.
"I just knew no one was going to be there," Bogaerts said. "If he makes the play, it's a double play for sure. But once I saw him miss it, I was going."
By the end of a sweltering game that crawled to completion in 3 hours, 45 minutes, the heads-up play hardly mattered.
Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia dropped a routine catch at the warning track in the eighth, right before the homer by Bogaerts. Reliever Buddy Boshers overthrew an easy two-out comebacker to the mound for another error that inning, allowing Ortiz to score before a two-run single by Leon.
"Good teams capitalize on those mistakes," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Leon, who got his first start at catcher since being summoned last weekend as an injury fill-in from Triple-A Pawtucket, is 5 for 5 since the promotion for a perfect 1.000 batting average. Leon did have two passed balls behind the plate, but this was the 27-year-old's best game in the majors.
"I'm 100 percent sure," he said.
Red Sox: Travis Shaw, who entered the game in a 3-for-27 slide, was dropped down to the eighth spot in the lineup, the lowest he's been the season. Manager John Farrell said Josh Rutledge could play more at 3B against left-handers, as he did on Thursday at San Francisco.
Twins: LHP Glen Perkins, the three-time All-Star closer who hasn't pitched since April 10 because of shoulder trouble, had to cut short early a bullpen session on Friday due to discomfort. He's headed for a second medical opinion.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (7-2, 4.04 ERA) will take the mound on Sunday, having taken a no-decision in each of his last three turns. This will be his 26th career start against the Twins, his most against any opponent.
Twins: Rookie RHP Pat Dean (1-2, 4.75 ERA) will pitch the series finale, making his fifth start. He's coming off his shortest one, 4 1/3 innings on Tuesday against Miami with seven hits, one walk and four runs allowed.
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