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Red Sox produce winning run in 10th

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Boston Red Sox came to Target Field on Friday night looking to avenge a series loss to the Minnesota Twins last week at home and won the series opener 3-2 in a tightly contested 10-inning game.

With the score tied in the 10th, the Red Sox manufactured the winning run. Dustin Pedroia led off with a single to right, followed by a walk to David Ortiz. Will Middlebrooks moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and Pedroia scored on Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly to center.

"The situation calls for it," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Middlebrooks' bunt. "We're sitting there with first and second and nobody out, even though he's a middle of the order type of guy, we had to move the runners up 90 feet.

"And the way Jonny has been locked in, I think that he's as good against right-handers -- even though he's brought up here to face lefties -- you get the sacrifice fly and we manufacture a run."

In the bottom of the inning, reliever Koji Uehara entered the game and shut down the Twins to pick up his first save of the season. The win went to Alex Wilson, his first of the season. At one point, the four Red Sox pitches, including Andrew Miller, combined to set down 17-consecutive Twins batters.

"I can't say enough about the way the guys came to the mound tonight. Every guy who came to the mound tonight pitched well," Farrell said. "Andrew Miller was outstanding tonight with the inning and two-thirds of work that he did. It was a very well-pitched game -- on both sides."

Although neither starter figured in the final decision, both pitched well.

Boston's Clay Buchholz, trying for an American League-leading seventh win, started strong, but the Twins worked him for a couple of runs in the middle innings. He left after throwing 110 pitches in seven innings, giving up four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.

"A good baseball game. We knew coming in Buchholz was going to be tough and he was," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't put many hits on the board tonight. Our guys did the best we possibly could with it. We had a couple chances and missed adding on some more runs and finally they got us at the end."

Twins starter Lance Worley, in one of his better outings of the season, threw 99 pitches in six innings, giving up six hits and four walks with one strikeout.

The Twins' defense kept Worley in the game against a tough-hitting Boston lineup with three double plays. The pitching staff has now induced 39 double-play balls -- they were tied for fourth in baseball coming into the game.

"For the most part I kept the ball down today, and I got the double-play balls I needed to get," Worley said.

With the score 2-1 in the seventh, Brian Duensing relieved Worley and quickly got in a jam. He walked Gomes and gave up singles to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury, scoring Gomes to tie it.

The Red Sox collected 10 hits in the game and Ortiz, who was 2 for 18 against the Twins last week in Boston, turned the tables and had three of them, knocking in the first Red Sox run.

The Red Sox struck first when Daniel Nava hit a one-out grounder up the middle in the first inning. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier made a great scoop behind the base but also made an ill-advised, off-balance throw to first that landed among the TV cameras.

Nava was awarded second, went to third on Pedroia's groundout and scored on a single to right by Ortiz.

Buchholz retired the first six batters (five in row by strikeouts), but Trevor Plouffe led off the third with a double. He scored when Pedro Florimon golfed a slow curveball into the right-field seats for his second homer of the season and 2-1 Twins lead.

"(Buchholz) makes the one first-pitch breaking ball to Florimon, that he drops the bat head for the two-run homer, but other than that he made a number of big pitches," Farrell said. "He created a little bit of a situation for himself with a couple of the walks. But he keeps the game under control and continues to make pitches and kept us in the game."

NOTES: The Red Sox have scored 200 runs this season, coming into the game they were third in the major leagues. ... The Twins have scored 82 runs in April, and at the start of the game were tied with Tampa Bay for second most in baseball for the month. ... Red Sox batters lead the major leagues with 148 extra base hits -- they came into the game tied for the major-league lead in doubles (93, with the Chicago Cubs), and added one against the Twins. ... Coming in, the Twins pitching staff has walked just 88 batters this season, the fewest in baseball. They walked seven against the Red Sox.
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