After waiting through a three hour rain delay that began in the middle of the seventh inning, the Red Sox were finally able to complete a three-game weekend sweep of the Twins with a 5-1 win yesterday in Minnesota. The Red Sox have now swept four series’ this season, compared to just three all of last year.
Starter John Lackey (2-4) earned the win, throwing six scoreless inning of one hit ball in arguably his best outing of the season. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. The one Minnesota run scored on a throwing error from shortstop Pedro Ciriaco in the fifth. Lackey’s ERA now falls to 3.31 on the year.
The Red Sox got their runs on a solo home run from Will Middlebrooks in the third, a RBI fielder's choice from Dustin Pedroia in the fourth, a Mike Napoli RBI single in the fifth, and capped off by a two-run homer from Pedroia in the ninth.
In all, the Red Sox finished with 11 hits as every starter recorded a hit except Ciriaco. The team could have put more runs on the board, if not for struggling once again with runners in scoring position as they finished 3-for-13 in the game.
As has been the case of late the team got a solid relief from their bullpen as Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa combined to pitch three innings of scoreless relief in the win.
The Red Sox will close out their nine-game road trip with a three-game set in Chicago against the White Sox beginning tonight (8:10, NESN). In Game 1, Jon Lester will be opposed by right-hander Dylan Axelrod, while Felix Doubront is scheduled to go against Jose Quintana tomorrow and in the finale Clay Buchholz will take his unblemished 6-0 record against Chris Sale.
Chicago comes into the series in last place in the AL Central and losers of two straight. On the other hand the Sox are riding a five-game win streak and sit in second place behind the Yankees in the AL East.
What they'll be saying: This upcoming series against Chicago should provide the Red Sox with a good opportunity to increase their winning streak and go into their next homestand with the first place Cleveland Indians and the return of Terry Francona with some momentum.