Twins score four unearned, top free-falling Sox 5-3


Minnesota Twins starter Pedro Hernandez lasted all of two innings on Wednesday night.

The diminutive lefty surrendered six runs on seven hits, including home runs to Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes but, amazingly, was still in line for the win when he was lifted in favor of long reliever Ryan Pressly…

May 9, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) misses the fly ball by Minnesota Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia (31) during the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

…and that’s because rookie Allen Webster, fresh off the bus from Boston Red Sox’ triple A affiliate in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was pulled after just one and two thirds inning after yeilding eight runs on just six hits.  Almost as bad, recently demoted starter Felix Doubront – the man that Webster replaced in the rotation – and his dead arm came on to be the stopper, but he too was pummeled harshly.

But now Webster is on his way back to Pawtucket and Joe De La Torre is on his way to Boston, Joel Hanrahan has been transferred to the 60 day disabled list while their other closer, Andrew Bailey, is also on a 15 day skid –  and the Red Sox had lost 5 of their past six games coming into the finale of a four game series against the Minnesota Twins.

Clearly the Sox could deal with a dose of good news.

Problem is, right now the Red Sox can’t get out of their own way and their margin for error is so thin that one mistake could spell disaster…

…like what happened Thursday night at Fenway Park, for example.

Leading 2-1 in the top of the 6th, Sox starter John Lackey was pitching his best game of the season when Joe Mauer touched him for a single to lead it off, then Justin Morneau took a one out walk to put base runners at 1st and second – Lackey needed to keep the ball in the infield and he got a perfect comebacker off the bat of Trevor Plouffe.

Lackey scooped it cleanly, pivoted and fired the ball well out of second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s reach and into right center, allowing Mauer to score from second. A sac fly and right field park job later and a Red Sox team that should have been in the dugout after being spoon fed a double play ball instead found themselves trailing 5-2, a steep hill to climb for the light hitting Sox of late…

…and they had their chances,  the best being in the bottom of eighth when Daniel Nava took a one out free pass and took second on Twin shortstop Eduardo Escobar’s bobble of Will Middlebrooks’ grounder, but Stephen Drew and Mike Carp both fanned and Minnesota cruised in from there, dropping the Sox by a final of 5-3 to take three of four from the free-falling Sox.

Lackey was terrific until the wild throwing error, in all pitching seven solid, surrendering five runs on six hits but four of those runs were unearned.  Set up man Koji Uehara struck out the side in the 8th and Craig Breslow induced all grounders to pitch a perfect ninth.

Boston jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Pedroia singling in Jacoby Ellsbury in the third and Nava scoring on a Drew liner to center in the fourth.  Aaron Hicks doubled in Oswaldo Arcia to cut the lead in half for Minnesota, setting up the Wheels-falling-off drama of the following inning, Arcia’s two-run shot to right being the fatal blow.

Minnesota starter Kevin Correia pitched 5 1-3 innings, yielding three runs on nine hits and relievers Brian Duensing, Jared Burton and Glen  Perkins held the Red Sox scoreless the rest of the way with Perkins picking up the save.

This is a team in turmoil, these Boston Red Sox.  Pitching woes aside, they have lost six of seven and in the past week have had their best performing stating pitcher accused of spitballing by Toronto Blue Jays commentator Jack Morris, been outscored to the tune of 43-19, the defense is falling apart with eleven errors in the past seven games and David Ortiz gets the naked light bulb treatment from the Tabloid-esque Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy regarding steroid usage…

…and now here come the Blue Jays and their circus sideshow of Jack Morris and his paranoid conspiracy theories for a weekend series – Brandon Morrow takes the bump for the Blue Jays while Jon Lester is scheduled to make the first pitch at 7:10 for the Red Sox.

With any luck at all Morris will stay hunkered down in his hotel suite with full room service for the three game set and not say a word, maybe have Shaughnessy over for a few laughs…they are, after all, in the same business…