Bogaerts’ grand slam backs Wacha, Red Sox beat Twins 6-5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Xander Bogaerts hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, J.D. Martinez also homered to back Michael Wacha’s strong start for Boston and the Red Sox held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Wednesday night.
Bogaerts and Martinez went deep during a five-run third inning against Minnesota starter Joe Ryan. Bogaerts added an RBI double in the sixth as Boston snapped a three-game losing streak.
“It was a pitch in the zone and he didn’t miss it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bogaerts’ slam. “We needed that one. It’s been a grind offensively for a while and to get a big hit like that, with one swing (to) score four, it was huge.”
Wacha (10-1) won his seventh straight decision, yielding two runs on four hits in six innings and striking out seven. Garrett Whitlock surrendered three runs in two relief innings. Matt Barnes allowed the first two batters in the ninth to reach but finished out his fourth save.
Ryan (10-7) gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings. He had allowed just four runs over his previous three starts, spanning 17 2/3 innings.
The Twins lost for the first time in six games but didn’t lose any ground in the AL Central. Cleveland, which lost 4-0 to Baltimore, leads the division by 1 1/2 games.
“When you get down that much, it’s not like you’re going to come back every day from something like that, but you can work and you can try to find a way and scratch off a couple of runs and get a little closer and see what happens,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “After we got behind, I was happy with what I saw from the at-bats. I was happy with the way we kept playing, and we came back at them and were a swing away from winning the ballgame.”
The Twins had won four straight games in comeback fashion.
Bogaerts and Wacha have tried to keep Boston in playoff contention, but the Red Sox had lost seven of nine coming into Wednesday. They are eight games back of Toronto for the final AL wild-card spot.
“We know the odds,” Cora said. “We know how it works, but I’ve seen teams win 20 in a row before. That can happen. We won 20 out of 29 at one point during the season. Obviously, it’s an uphill battle, but we want to play good baseball. Today, overall, it was a good one.”
Bogaerts has multiple hits in six of his last seven games and is 13-for-28 over that stretch, improving his batting average to .308.
His sixth career grand slam was a liner to left that just snuck over the plants lining the outfield fence. It was the second straight game with a grand slam in the series; Nick Gordon hit one for the Twins on Tuesday night.
Two batters later, Martinez hit his 11th homer of the season.
“Down and in to guys that crush down and in, it’s going to be a nice day for them if you’re doing that,” Ryan said.
Wacha has been Boston’s most consistent starter. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last seven outings.
“That’s when I’m best — filling up the zone, keeping that pace going, keeping the pressure on them, getting in pitcher’s counts and staying on the attack,” Wacha said.
The Twins had scored 14 runs over the first two games of the series, but Wacha held them hitless until Sandy León singled with two outs in the third. Luis Arraez followed with a two-run homer, his eighth of the year.
Gordon had a two-run double in the eighth but was thrown out trying to reach third to end the inning.
Minnesota claimed LHP Austin Davis off waivers from Boston before the game. Davis was 2-1 with a 5.47 ERA in 50 games for the Red Sox this season and was designated for assignment on Monday. Davis will likely join the Twins’ active roster on Thursday.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday.
Twins: 2B Jorge Polanco missed his fourth straight game. Polanco is dealing with an unspecified knee injury. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Polanco could have been available to pinch-hit if needed.
Red Sox: Returning home for a four-game series against Texas, Boston will have LHP Rich Hill (6-5, 4.32 ERA) on the mound. The Rangers will start RHP Glenn Otto (6-8, 4.79).
Twins: Minnesota starts a road swing on Friday with the first of three against the White Sox. RHP Sonny Gray (7-4, 3.04) will start Friday’s game and Chicago counters with RHP Davis Martin (2-4, 4.62).
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