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Red Sox 4, Twins 8: The Panda of discontent

The Red Sox took a gift win and turned it into a loss.

Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The Red Sox turned in another catastrophic performance Thursday night, thwarting Minnesota's best attempts to gift them a win by handing it right back on a silver platter. And there was perhaps no player more responsible for the 8-4 defeat than Pablo Sandoval, whose month long slide has hit a new low.

All was well early on for the Red Sox, if not exactly impressive. Steven Wright was doing his usual thing. He wasn't untouchable and almost cost himself a run with a mistake on defense in the fourth, but Torii Hunter ran into an out at home, and Wright was able to head into the fifth with a clean record. Through four, it wasn't just another solid start, but arguably his best so far this season.

The Twins, meanwhile, had apparently been infected by some of the old April Red Sox opponent spirit. Tommy Milone could only watch in horror as the bases were loaded up in the first on three infield singles from Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, and Xander Bogaerts. But up to the plate came Pablo Sandoval, and five pitches later Milone was out of it with a fly ball for out number three.

If his luck had been atrocious in the first, though, it only got worse in the second. Mookie Betts manage to grab two bases on little more than a bloop to right field, and after a two-out walk to Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox produced yet another infield single that would have loaded the bases had Mookie Betts not taken a wide turn around third, inducing a throw that likely would have had him dead in the water.had Trevor Plouffe not dropped it, allowing Betts to come in to score the first run of the game. An error from Eduardo Escobar on David Ortiz' ground ball allowed another run to score, and Mike Napoli even managed the fifth infield single of the first two innings to load the bases once more before Xander Bogaerts flew out to mercifully end the frame with just two runs in.

There was nothing cheap, however, about the next two runs the Sox produced. Each came on a solo homer, the first off the bat of Blake Swihart in the third--his first career home run in the majors--the second off Dustin Pedroia's in the fourth.

So just to recap, the Red Sox went into the fifth inning with four shutout innings from their pitcher having loaded the bases twice in the first two innings, picked up five infield singles, had two errors committed by the Twins, and produced two homers.

And they lost.

They lost because Minnesota's homer came not with the bases empty, but after a pair of singles--one, of course, on the infield--in the fifth, bringing the score to 4-3. They lost because in the sixth, Pablo Sandoval made an errant throw on what would have been the third out of a 1-2-3 inning, allowing Kurt Suzuki to later knock in Eduardo Escobar to tie it up. They lost because Hanley Ramirez turned an out at first into an out at third and Mike Napoli was bafflingly sent home from first on a bloop to right leaving him out by a mile. And they lost because in the ninth, Koji Uehara allowed a pair of singles, and when Joe Mauer dropped down a terrible bunt that should have been at least an out at third, Sandoval let it get past him into left field. It all fell apart from there, with human white flag Craig Breslow trotted out to take a close loss and push it all the way out of save territory.

The Red Sox were handed a win today. Handed it by the baseball gods and the Twins defense free of charge. And they gave it right back, with interest besides.