Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS — Boston’s Josh Rutledge sent a seemingly innocuous grounder to shortstop Jorge Polanco with two outs in the second inning on Saturday. Polanco fielded the ball and fumbled the exchange while trying to decide whether to record the final out of the inning at first or second base. The error was the break the struggling Red Sox needed. They scored eight runs in the second inning and cruised to an 11-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Chris Young homered twice and Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi each had three hits to lead Boston.
“The sky’s the limit,” Young said of the team’s offense. “I think that’s pretty obvious with the guys that we have in the lineup on a day-to-day basis that any day can be that day.”
The Red Sox were down to two outs and Young was facing an 0-2 count before he deposited the next pitch into the left-field stands for his first homer of the day. Dustin Pedroia added a three-run double and Boston scored all eight runs in the inning with two outs.
Sandy Leon had three hits, including a late home run, as the Red Sox finally supplied Rick Porcello with some run support in scoring a season high in runs and posting 16 hits.
“We caught a break,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We get the error in the second inning and then the floodgates opened up. We’re two outs, 0-2 count and to think that we score eight runs after that kind of shows you how crazy this game can be at times.
“But the home run clearly gave us a quick injection of some energy and then Petey with the big blow to clear the bases to give us a pretty sizable lead in the second inning.”
Porcello (2-4) settled in and pitched seven innings with one run and seven hits allowed. The only run Porcello surrendered was a solo homer by Robbie Grossman leading off the third inning. He struck out six batters.
The Red Sox had scored nine total runs of support in Porcello’s first six starts. They hadn’t scored any runs while the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner was in the game in his last four outings.
“Just try to keep the same mindset, regardless of what the score is,” Porcello said. “I’m looking to get the same results either way. I try to be conscious of pounding the strike zone and keeping the tempo of the game going on our side, and maintaining that momentum.”
Minnesota’s Nick Tepesch (0-1) was making his first appearance in the majors since June 24, 2016, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tepesch hadn’t appeared in a game of any kind since starting for Triple-A Rochester on April 20.
The right-hander was filling a spot in the rotation left open when rookie Adalberto Mejia was optioned to Triple-A. Tepesch only lasted 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs (one earned) and five hits.
“I just need to do a better job of getting ahead of hitters and putting them away,” Tepesch said, later adding, “I’ve had work between then and now and felt that I was ready to pitch.”
Tepesch might have had a better outcome, but he couldn’t recover from Polanco’s error.
Mookie Betts walked, Pedroia cleared the bases with a three-run double, Bogaerts singled and Benintendi drove in two runs with a double. Drew Rucinski came on in relief of Tepesch and two more runs scored.
“We didn’t make a play, obviously, and then we couldn’t get off the field,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen two outs, two strikes and then eight runs. It’s just one of those oddities of the game that when it goes against you, it hurts a lot because you do think about what might have been.
“It put us in a bad spot. You try to remind the guys you’ve got a lot of baseball left, but that’s a big hill to climb.”
Porcello wouldn’t allow Minnesota any momentum to get back in the game. He gave up a hit in six of his seven innings, but the Twins were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
NOTES: Twins RHP Michael Tonkin, who gave up one run, two hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings, was designated for assignment after the game. Tonkin had a 6.55 ERA. He was taken out of the game as C Chris Gimenez came on to get the final two outs. … Boston LHP David Price could be nearing a rehab assignment as he tries to return from a left elbow strain. Manager John Farrell said Price will throw another four-inning simulated game on Tuesday. Afterward, Price could make a minor league rehab start with the plan to make at least three rehab starts and possibly return to the Red Sox by the end of May. … Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier missed the game after spraining an ankle on Friday. Manager Paul Molitor said Dozier is likely to be held out on Sunday as well. … Twins CF Byron Buxton missed his second straight game after colliding with the wall in center field on Thursday. … Farrell altered his lineup looking for a spark, putting Mookie Betts at leadoff for the first time this season followed by Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez. It was Benintendi’s first game at the cleanup hitter. … Boston will send LHP Chris Sale (2-2, 1.38 ERA) to the mound for Sunday’s series finale against Minnesota RHP Ervin Santana (5-0, 0.66).