Red Sox 8, Twins 2

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—This time, Bronson Arroyo needed only his pitching to inspire his teammates.

Arroyo threw seven-plus sharp innings, Gabe Kapler drove in three runs and the Boston Red Sox ended Minnesota’s four-game winning streak with a 8-2 victory on Friday night.

Arroyo (4-7) frustrated the Twins, allowing two runs off eight hits and striking out eight. He looked nothing like the pitcher who lost six straight between May and June.

“Awesome,” catcher Jason Varitek said of Arroyo’s performance. “One of his better outings. … We needed that.”

Last week, he sparked a bench-clearing brawl at Fenway Park when he hit New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez with a pitch.

“I won’t be thinking about that until I get booed in Yankee Stadium,” he said.

The fight resulted in eight players being punished, and it gave the Red Sox an emotional charge.

This start went much smoother, and Arroyo’s solid pitching was more than enough to fire up his teammates.

“Bronson was amazing tonight,” Kapler said.

Despite the win, the Red Sox—who’ve won four of their last five games and five of their last seven—remained 7 1/2 back of the Yankees, who beat Baltimore, in the AL East.

The Twins, meanwhile, looked nothing like the team that swept the Chicago White Sox this week to take first place in the AL Central.

A lot of that had to do with Arroyo, who was dominant from the start.

“The second time around (in the order), guys started to make adjustments,” Minnesota’s Torii Hunter said. “But the game was out of hand by then.”

Arroyo gave up an RBI single to Doug Mientkiewicz in the fifth. In the eighth, Mientkiewicz added another RBI to make it 7-2 and Jose Offerman followed with a single with no outs. Arroyo, who didn’t walk a batter, was pulled for Alan Embree after he struck out Shannon Stewart on a questionable call.

Embree got out of the inning and Varitek homered off Aaron Fultz in the ninth to make it 8-2.

“We kept at ‘em,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Keith Foulke worked a scoreless ninth.

Every Red Sox starter reached base to give Arroyo a cushion. David Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two RBIs against his old team.

Boston’s 11 hits off starter Kyle Lohse (4-8) tied a season high for the Twins’ right-hander, who also walked four batters in one of his worst starts of the season.

Lohse’s recent struggles were a prime reason the Twins were interested in Pittsburgh starter Kris Benson. But Benson was traded to the New York Mets on Friday, and Lohse didn’t make his team, or its fans, feel better about it.

“I tried to execute every pitch I could, I felt like I did that,” Lohse said. “They hit balls that were just falling in.

“There’s not a whole lot I can get upset about. I have to take the good out of it and try to forget the fact that every single thing they put in play fell in.”

After giving up consecutive singles to Varitek and Kevin Millar in the second, Lohse walked Bill Mueller to load the bases for Kapler, who singled to shallow left to score Varitek. Ricky Gutierrez drove in Millar on a double play to make it 2-0.

Lohse got into more trouble in the fourth after Johnny Damon drove in Kapler on a sacrifice fly. Mark Bellhorn walked to put runners at first and second with one out for Ortiz.

Ortiz drove in both runners when his bloop to left dropped a few feet in front of Stewart, just inside the third-base line for a double to put Boston up 5-0.

“That double was a big hit,” Francona said.

In the fifth, Lohse loaded the bases and manager Ron Gardenhire had enough. Joe Roa relieved and Lohse left to loud boos.

Kapler responded with a single to score two more runs and put the Red Sox ahead 7-0.

Notes

Mientkiewicz, who was told late last week that he would be traded, started and batted eighth in the order. Always a fan favorite, he got a hearty ovation during lineup introductions. “It was tough for me to fight back tears,” an emotional Mientkiewicz said. “To have those people do that for me was probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.” His single in the third broke an 0-for-6 slump. … Kapler also made an impressive throw in the seventh after Justin Morneau doubled off the right field wall. As Morneau headed for third, Kapler picked up the ball and fired a near-perfect throw to Mueller, who tagged the sliding Morneau. “It ended up being at the right spot at the right time,” Kapler said. “I just kind of launched it.”

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