If there's one pitcher who neutralizes an opposing offense's skill, it's Tim Wakefield. On any given night, the knuckleball can make the best offensives teams look silly, and the worst offensive teams look like world-beaters.
Tonight, it was the latter.
The Twins scored early, and they scored often. A Trevor Plouffe solo shot in the first inning put the Twins up 1-0. It didn't stay that close for long, as a three-run second followed on the back of four singles, a walk, and a rather controversial balk.
The balk came with men on the corners. Tim Wakefield bluffed to third, fired to first, and caught Denard Span in a rundown. Or so it seemed. As the Sox walked off the field, home plate Angel Hernandez called for a balk, scoring Ben Revere from third, and then ejected Terry Francona as the irate manager came out to argue.
Francona's ejection did seem to fire up the team for a bit. J.D. Drew gave the Red Sox their first run of the night with a loud home run to right field in the bottom of the second, and was followed in the fourth by Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a very long ball over the Monster to give the Sox their second.
Unfortunately for the Sox, however, things quickly got away from Wakefield again in the fourth, with a couple more singles and a walk loading the bases before a Danny Valencia scored two more on a line drive off the Monster. The Twins added two more when a ball off the bat of Drew Butera kicked off of Jed Lowrie's glove and into left field.
Alfredo Aceves spared the bullpen the rest of the game with a strong performance out of the pen, but the Sox could mount no more offense off the Twins, falling 9-2.