Porcello Pitches Sox Past Twins 2-0 [VIDEO]
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After an awfully sluggish start to their World Series title defense, the Boston Red Sox have begun to round into form.
Their latest stride came in the series opener at first-place Minnesota, with a dominant Rick Porcello on the mound.
Porcello pitched seven innings to outduel Twins ace Jose Berrios, and the Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six straight games with a 2-0 victory Monday night.
"That's the best lineup in baseball, and he kept them off balance," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "Weak contact. He was in control."
Porcello (5-6) allowed only four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts, just his third start out of 15 this season with seven or more innings completed. He threw eight scoreless innings to beat Oakland on April 30.
"We're playing good baseball. We've got a lot of baseball to play, though," Porcello said.
The Red Sox (40-34), who began the season 9-15, moved a season-high six games above .500 by handing the highest-scoring team in the major leagues just its second shutout of the year. The Twins (47-24) have their fifth two-game losing streak of the season. They've yet to lose three in a row.
"We have been playing so well this year, the offense, defense and pitching," Berrios said. "Tomorrow, it's another day, so we turn the page."
Berrios (8-3) struck out 10 batters in a season-most eight innings, with five hits and no walks. An RBI single by J.D. Martinez in the first was the only run he allowed. Xander Bogaerts gave the Red Sox insurance with an RBI double in the ninth, extending the team's streak with an extra-base hit to 88 straight games, but Ryan Brasier didn't need it. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his seventh save in 10 tries, returning from a six-game absence for bereavement/family medical emergency leave.
Berrios (8-3) made quick work of the Red Sox after allowing three straight singles to start the game. Andrew Benintendi, who was scratched from the lineup the day before at Baltimore because of a sore left quadriceps muscle, tried to turn his drive off the right field wall into a double but was thrown out by Marwin Gonzalez. Martinez followed with his liner to left that gave the Red Sox the lead.
Berrios retired 19 straight batters until a two-out single by Bogaerts in the seventh, with four strikeouts in a row in one stretch. That included Jackie Bradley Jr. to finish the fifth, on a 77 mph curveball that froze the left-hander when it broke hard across the zone. Berrios also fanned reigning AL Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts looking to end his night and match his season-high strikeout total.
"We contributed a lot to his foundation back home in Puerto Rico," Cora said of his fellow countryman. "His stuff is amazing. This kid, I've seen him for a while growing up, and seeing him doing the things he's doing now, he's been impressive."
Porcello was, too, of course. He gave up a double to Nelson Cruz in the first inning, and C.J. Cron just missed a home run with his double that bounced beneath the flower beds off the tall wall in right-center in the seventh, but the Twins didn't really threaten until the eighth against Colten Brewer. This was the first time in 15 games the major league home run leaders failed to go deep.