The Red Sox seem to have trouble winning that one extra game.
Against the Orioles, a 2-2 split. Not bad. Not great. Against the Jays, 1-2 in Fenway. Actively bad where 2-1 would've been actively good. A split against the Giants on the road, honestly, might well be considered a win in its own right...but a good team should never expect 0-2, making it hard to consider 1-1 anything above expectations.
Against the Twins? A team so far in the cellar? 2-1 is expected. 3-0 is hope for. The Red Sox met expectations. They did not exceed them. And they have only their own mistakes--and Xander Bogaerts' in particular--to blame.
If Rick Porcello was not magnificent, he was at least fairly good. He yielded a run in the first inning, but it was very much of the smallball variety--a leadoff single, a stolen base, and a couple ground balls. That was his one earned run of the night, but not his only run period. A second would score in the second, but this time it came with two outs when there should have been three, with Bogaerts having botched an (admittedly difficult) ground ball.
Porcello would shut the Twins down over the next few frames, but gave up a pair of leadoff baserunners in the sixth to leave himself in trouble. Still, he battled back with two quick outs against Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier, leaving him one away from an escape. He should have had it on a ground ball from Max Kepler, but again Bogaerts struggled to make the out, bouncing the throw to Hanley, who couldn't pick the ball at first. One run scored right away, and another on a bloop single from Eduardo Escobar to right-center in an inning that should've been over.
That's four for Porcello, but really, one for Porcello, and three for the defense. But to be fair, the Twins repaid the favor. The Red Sox, entering the eighth, had just the lone run on a Chris Young homer. But they would start a late rally then, loading the bases with nobody out in the inning. Eduardo Nunez would make a nice play on a ground ball from who else but Xander Bogaerts, but then promptly threw the ball into right field while trying to start the double play. Instead of the threat being largely snuffed out, the Red Sox had two runs in and runners on the corners, with David Ortiz able to tie the game even when he grounded into a double play.
That led the game to extras, but it didn't last long after. With John Farrell doing as so many other managers do and not turning to his best relievers without the lead in extras, Matt Barnes was brought in to pitch the tenth. He allowed a leadoff walk, then saw the man go to third with one out on a line drive that Xander Bogaerts couldn't quite snag. From there, Barnes needed to be perfect. And yet, with an 0-2 count to Max Kepler, he threw him a meatball right down the middle. It sailed well over the wall in center, and that was that. No need for a sacrifice fly when you can mash a three-run homer.
Not a good look for the player who could do no wrong in Xander Bogaerts. Not a great day for an offense that needed serious help to send the game to extras. And a pretty awful performance from Matt Barnes. A rough way to end what could have been a pretty great series sweep.