It looked like it might be a rough day for the Red Sox on Wednesday, as Josh Beckett allowed three first inning runs to the Minnesota Twins, which was capped off by a long home run by Justin Morneau.
But the Commander settled down, and the offense came alive in a big way. The Sox scored four runs in the third, with RBIs by Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell and Sean Casey. They added on to their lead in the fifth, going up 6-3. But Beckett faltered in the sixth, giving up a homer to Jason Kubel and a double before exiting. He threw a ton of pitches, so he could only go 5 1/3 innings.
The bullpen bent a little, but didn't break. In the seventh up 7-5, the Red Sox turned to Craig Hansen came on with the bases loaded and one out and got out of the inning with no runs tallied. (Hansen continues to be extremely frustrating. With a big lead in the eighth, he walked the first batter, and gave up a single to the next before leaving. He doesn't impress me as being a big time prospect any more.)
The Red Sox blew the game wide open in the seventh, putting up a "7" spot. It almost didn't happen, as with first and third and none out, Jason Varitek hit a ball that was clearly trapped in center, but at first the umps called it a catch, and the Twins thought they had turned a triple play. But the umps got together and reversed the call, so a run scored and the Sox went on to bust it open. In the eighth, Kevin Cash hit his second homer of the year, and another bomb over the Monster and across Lansdowne Street. (Give this guy more at-bats.) Kevin Youkilis also added a home run in the inning to complete the wipeout, 18-5, and a sweep of the series.
Tampa Bay's loss at New York means the Sox are now back to within two games of the AL East lead.
It went from a nailbiter to a laugher in a matter of just one inning. Beckett got his 9th win, and the Red Sox will face the Orioles Friday in the final series before the break, with Clay Buchholz returning from Pawtucket to rejoin the rotation.