Verdugo Drives in 4 runs, Casas Homers as Red Sox Beat Twins 9-3
Alex Verdugo tripled and drove in four runs, James Paxton pitched 6 1/3 effective innings and the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 9-3 on Monday night for their fifth straight win.
Triston Casas hit a two-run homer and Jarren Duran added three doubles for Boston, which has outscored opponents 40-14 during the win streak.
“The line was moving before we started scoring runs the last few days,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who notched his 400th career win as Boston's manager. “Now, we're getting the big hit, so hopefully the fun starts.”
Paxton (3-1) gave up three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Over his past four games, the tall left-hander has given up six earned runs in 24 1/3 innings with 32 strikeouts.
“This is great," Paxton said of being able to pitch consistently after a couple injury-riddled seasons. “Being able to go out every five days, six days, whatever it ends up being has been so much fun. Just love being back in the routine. It's what I love to do and just grateful to be back out there.”
Pablo López (3-4) allowed five runs — four earned — in 5 2/3 innings for Minnesota, which has lost four of five but remains two games ahead of Cleveland in the American League Central despite falling under .500 (36-37) for the second time this season.
“We need to put better swings on the ball and find the barrel more than we have,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “And we walked guys on the other side of the ball. It wasn’t a good recipe for a good game or a win or anything along those lines. We’re in a tough stretch right now. This has not been the best baseball we’ve seen from our group. But that’s it.”
Twins catcher Christian Vázquez hit a three-run homer against his former team, his first in 48 games in his first season in Minnesota.
Duran’s second double of the game drove in two runs in the fourth and put Boston ahead 3-0 before Vázquez’s homer off Paxton in the fifth. But after Jovani Moran relieved López with two outs and two on in the sixth, Verdugo lined a triple down the right-field line to score three.
“Just kind of keep the next guy going and just timely hitting, I think that's the big thing,” Verdugo said. “We were getting a lot of hits but getting the runners in is what we're trying to pride ourselves with. Today, we did a good job from top of the order to the bottom of the order, to getting runners on and getting the big hit.”
BOTTOM TO TOP
The bottom of the Red Sox order got most of the damage started.
Casas, catcher Connor Wong and shortstop Pablo Reyes combined to go 5 for 12 with two walks and seven runs scored.
“That was huge,” Cora said. “It was a total team effort. We grinded today against a really good pitcher.”
EAGLE HAS LANDED
The Target Field public address system played an eagle screech every time Minnesota would get a base hit or Paxton would walk a batter. It was Paxton's first start at Target Field since April 2018 when a bald eagle landed on Paxton's shoulder during the National Anthem.
Paxton said he heard the screeching on Monday and didn't mind the reference.
“It's a fun little dig on me,” Paxton said. "Maybe last time I was here, the eagle landed on me, which was quite the experience. So, it was fun.”
Red Sox: RHP Tanner Houck (facial fracture) is scheduled to see a doctor on Tuesday, a visit that will help determine more of a timetable for his possible return. ... LHP Joely Rodriguez (left shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (right triceps strain) has finished his rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul and Baldelli said it’s possible Maeda could rejoin the rotation at some point this week. Baldelli didn’t have a definitive day for when it might be, but the Twins would go to a temporary six-man rotation.
RHP Bailey Ober (4-3, 2.65 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday for Minnesota, with Boston countering with RHP Kutter Crawford (1-3, 4.20).