Twins go to 11 wins, beat Boston to extend streak

Chris Paddack walked off the mound towards the first-base dugout and let out a primal scream while thumping his chest with his right fist. The starter had just delivered the last pitch of his night, a 95.9 mile per hour fastball that Tyler O’Neill whiffed at.

It was the last of his six scoreless innings, the last of a bounce-back effort from him that helped lead the Twins to their 11th straight win. The Twins matched the third-longest winning streak in franchise history on Friday night with a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox at Target Field.

It’s the first time since 2006 that the Twins (18-13) have won that many consecutive games. And in this one, Paddack played a starring role.

“I wasn’t going to be the guy that ended the streak,” Paddack said. “Made it personal out there.”

It looked like Paddack could have been in for a long night when the first two batters of the game reached base — one on a rare Carlos Correa error, the other on a double — placing a pair of runners in scoring position before he recorded an out.

But he quickly buckled down, retiring the next three batters and stranding the runners in place.

“I just kind of stepped off and told myself, ‘Hey, control this pitch, execute this pitch at hand. Forget about what happened or what’s to come,’ ” Paddack said. “I think that helped me right there in the first inning of getting no runs across after an error and then the double.”

That double to Red Sox star Rafael Devers was one of just two hits he would give up. The other was a single to Ceddanne Rafaela, who was quickly wiped off the basepaths when he was caught stealing.

Paddack walked just one and struck out six, including three in his final inning.

“If you’re going to win a bunch of games in a row, they’re not all going to be the same type of baseball game,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But to roll out there and have one of your guys just kind of step up and go six shutout innings the way that Paddack did, it sets a tone.”

When Paddack left, he was locked in a pitcher’s duel with Tanner Houck, who had given up just one run to the Twins through his first six frames.

The Twins scored that run in the third inning when Edouard Julien’s slowly-hit single got past a reaching Rafaela at short and into the outfield to bring home Willi Castro.

Castro, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games, helped make something happen once again in the seventh inning. He dropped down a sacrifice bunt, and when catcher Reese McGuire went to throw to second, the ball wound up in the outfield, scoring a run.

That was part of a four-run inning in which the Twins pulled away. They had a bit of help from the Red Sox (18-15) when a pitch clock violation was called on what became ball four to Julien to force in a run before catcher Ryan Jeffers delivered a bases-loaded double, helping push the game out of reach and seal up the Twins’ 11th straight win.

“It’s fun winning baseball games, and we keep doing it and finding different ways to win,” Jeffers said. “We’re not winning the same way every time. We’re just playing good baseball.”

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