Mookie Betts pulled a single through to hole to lead off, then Andrew Benintendi lined out to left. J.D. Martinez walked on four pitches, the third of which almost hit him. On the broadcast, there was a loud, dumb, sarcastic guy sitting next to the microphone. Mitch Moreland worked the count full but struck out looking on a two-seamer inside -- think Derek Lowe. Dave O’Brien noted how few people were there for the 12:10 local time start, and how dead the Sox offense has looked recently. With two outs, Xander Bogaerts lined Kyle Gibson’s 24th pitch of the inning into left-center, but it was caught. The dumb guy yelled, “USA, baby!”
Rick Porcello came to the mound, as did old man Joe Mauer, who will be in the Hall of Fame but grounded out to Brock Holt here. Brian Dozier, who had two doubles yesterday, took some mighty hacks but then grounded out to third, where Rafael Devers made an iffy throw to first that Moreland corralled.
On the next pitch, Porcello hit Eduardo Escobar on the elbow, potentially in response to after Martinez being brushed back, but either way it brought up Logan Morrison, who singled to a wide-open left field against the shift, and there were two on, two out. This is by no means the first time a Porcello brushback has made his life harder, but he got dude to ground out to end the inning. I will probably write about this tomorrow.
Devers led off the inning with a three-pitch strikeout looking, so that was fun. Brock Holt made an out so fast I didn’t even see it! Sandy León worked a full count, provoking the drunk dude to chant SANDY, in a taunting way, and then Sandy walked. The dude shut up for Jackie Bradley Jr., who lined out to Dozier. The dude stayed silent.
Max Kepler, who hit a homer last night, popped out to center -- baby homers don’t count. Ehire Adrianza worked the count full but Porcello got him on a changeup, which was really working for him in the game and the at-bat. Red Sox legend Ryan LaMarre walked, because that’s what legends do, but Bobby Wilson, not being a Red Sox legend, flew out to left.
Betts popped up to lead off the third, and Beni, hitless for the series, struck out on three pitches to follow. Martinez also struck out looking. Gibson’s curveball was dominant. But Porcello was good too. Mauer grounded out, Dozier grounded out and Escobar struck out in his first at-bat after getting plunked.
Moreland walked to start the fourth, which was good. Bogaerts had a nick poke to center but it was caught, which was less good. Devers again struck out on three pitches, which was bad. Holt singled, which was good. León TAGGED a double down the line early in the at-bat to make it 1-0, which was awesome, and unexpected. Bradley popped out to end it, which was… expected.
Morrison made a routine out to begin the fourth (because he’s bad), which I missed (because I’m bad). Grossman struck out looking, which really was the theme of the day, and then I went downstairs to get water and the inning was over, so I assume things went well.
Speaking of which, Betts led off the fifth with an opposite field homer, his 19th dong of the year, to make it 2-0. Beni ran the count to 0-2 but then pasted a low curveball to center field for a single. Martinez flew out to right but Moreland lasered a single to right, and there were two on with one out and Gibson started to look a little tired out as he passed the 80 pitch mark. The Sox would load the bases but not score, and it was 2-0 for a couple innings while I ran to Barnes & Noble. Porcello kept the one-hitter going the whole time.
The Sox blew the game open in the seventh, with Bogaerts providing the decisive blow, a two-run double. He’d later score to make it 5-0 Sox heading into the eighth. León led off with a single, but JBJ struck out and Betts was retired so ho hum, onto the ninth, right? Wrong. Beni hit a moonshot to right field, making it 7-0 Sox. Martinez followed with a double, as did Moreland, which made it 8-0. The bats... were back.
Despite Porcello having given up a single hit, he came out after 7, with Hector Velázquez on for some serious garbage time action, at which point Sox legend LaMarre doubled Minny’s hit total to two. THE NERVE. But that was basically it. Good getaway game. One more run made it 9-0 before the Twins got two men across in the ninth to make it 9-2. And that was that.