Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS – After scoring 10 runs in their previous three games, the Boston Red Sox shuffled their lineup a bit Saturday and needed to wait less than two innings to watch it pay off. A repeat of the Red Sox’s season-best run total against the host Minnesota Twins seems unlikely Sunday, however, as they attempt to become the first team to solve Ervin Santana in the rubber match of their three-game series.
Boston manager John Farrell sat slumping Jackie Bradley Jr. in favor of Chris Young and put Andrew Benintendi in the cleanup spot for the first time in his brief career Saturday, and both players had a profound impact on the 11-1 rout of Minnesota. Young sparked an eight-run second-inning uprising with his first homer of the season, Benintendi began a three-hit effort later in the frame with a two-run double and Young slugged his second solo shot in three at-bats three innings later to extend Boston’s cushion. The Red Sox still rank in the bottom half of the American League in runs (121) and RBIs (115) despite the offensive explosion and will be hard-pressed to improve much on those numbers against Santana, who has yet to surrender more than one run or four hits in any of his six turns. The Twins won’t find the going any easier either, as Chris Sale leads the majors with 63 strikeouts while holding hitters to a .166 batting average, second only to Santana’s .120 mark.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Chris Sale (2-2, 1.38 ERA) vs. Twins RH Ervin Santana (5-0, 0.66)
Sale has worked at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer in all six of his starts and Tuesday versus Baltimore was no different, as he permitted two runs on three hits while fanning 11 over eight innings to get the victory. The five-time All-Star has struck out at least 10 in five straight outings and ranks second in the majors in WHIP (0.74) as well as fourth in ERA. Joe Mauer is only 8-for-39 with 10 strikeouts against Sale, who is 8-6 with a 4.28 ERA in 24 appearances (16 starts) versus the Twins.
Santana worked around three walks and continued his exceptional start to the season Tuesday against Oakland, yielding only three singles and striking out seven in six scoreless frames. The 34-year-old Dominican, who has allowed a total of three runs and 16 hits over 41 frames, also paces the majors in ERA and WHIP (0.71) and is tied for the league lead in wins. Dustin Pedroia is 6-for-28 with no homers versus Santana, who will face the Red Sox for the first time since 2014 and is 4-3 with a 4.89 ERA in 14 starts against them.
1. With another 10-strikeout game Sunday, Sale will break his tie with Pedro Martinez (2001) for the most consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts in club history.
2. Twins LF Eddie Rosario, who is 4-for-5 against Sale, went 0-for-3 on Saturday to end his career-best 15-game hitting streak.
3. Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier underwent an X-ray and ultrasound on his left ankle Saturday. The tests revealed no structural damage and the team is hopeful he can return Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.