The turning point – it happens at least once in every baseball game, a player will make a play that changes the course of the inning, changes the course of the game…
Did Boston Red Sox fans witness such a turning point at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday night?
Leading 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth after starter Ryan Dempster and reliever Clayton Mortensen both combined to allow the Twins to score three times in the previous inning, Mortensen allowed a single to catcher Ryan Doumit and issued a free pass to left fielder Oswaldo Arcia before being relieved by Craig Breslow, who immediately walked third baseman Trevor Plouffe to load the bases with just one out…
…when Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a twisting, over the shoulder grab of an Aaron Hicks flare, then turning and firing a bullet to catcher Ryan Lavarnway who, blocking the plate, stood his ground after Doumit tagged up and was bearing down on him. Lavarnway absorbed Doumit’s big hit and held onto the ball for an inning ending double play.
David Ortiz and Daniel Nava then hit home runs in the top of the seventh to increase the Sox lead to 11-5 on their way to a lengthy 12-5 victory over the Twins in the second game of their three game series.
Ortiz also hit a three run blast in the first inning and had an RBI single in the third, hitting everything that he can reach, much to the chagrin of Twins’ skipper Ron Gardenhire.
The one guy we say don’t let beat us is David Ortiz ,” Gardenhire lamented after the game, “They’ve got a lot of really good hitters over there, but we told them to stay away from this guy, don’t give in to him. And he keeps sending souvenirs.”
Both pitching staffs were wild on a muggy Saturday night in southern Minnesota, With Dempster and Mortensen combining for seven walks in five innings before Breslow came in and settled things down – and for his efforts, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings spanning the sixth and seventh innings, Breslow picked up his first win of the season…
…while the Twins’ staff never did settle down, as evidenced by the score. The Twins had their chances but left at least one runner stranded in each inning, leaving the bases loaded twice – including the 6th inning, where Pedroia’s catch and throw and Lavarnway’s toughness essentially saved the game for the Sox.
The Red Sox have now taken four straight and send the struggling John Lackey to the mound for Sunday’s series finale – so if Boston can come out of Lackey’s start with the win, we’ll all know that something special has happened with this Red Sox team.