By BRIAN HALL – Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Xander Bogaerts hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, JD Martinez also homered to back up Michael Wacha’s strong start for Boston and the Red Sox held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6- 5 Wednesday evening.
Bogaerts and Martinez went deep in a five-run third inning against Minnesota starter Joe Ryan. Bogaerts added an RBI brace in the sixth as Boston snapped a three-game losing streak.
“It was a throw in the zone and he didn’t miss it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bogaerts’ slam. “We needed this one. It was a drag offensively for a while and getting a big hit like that, with a swing (for) scoring four, was huge.
Wacha (10-1) won his seventh straight decision, going two runs on four hits in six innings and striking out seven. Garrett Whitlock gave up three runs in two relief innings. Matt Barnes allowed the first two batters of the ninth to reach, but ended his fourth save.
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Ryan (10-7) allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings. He had allowed just four runs in his previous three starts, going 17 2/3 innings.
The Twins lost for the first time in six games but did not lose ground in the AL Central. Cleveland, which lost 4-0 to Baltimore, leads the division by 1½ games.
“When you’re going down that much, it’s not like you’re going to come back every day from something like this, but you can work and you can try to find a way and scratch a few tracks and get a little closer and see what is happening,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “After we fell behind, I was happy with what I saw from the batsmen. I was happy with the way we kept playing. , and we came back on them and were so close to winning the baseball game.
The Twins had won four consecutive games in comeback fashion.
Bogaerts and Wacha tried to keep Boston in playoff contention, but the Red Sox had lost seven of nine heading into Wednesday. They are eight games behind Toronto for the last AL wildcard spot.
“We know the odds,” Cora said. “We know how it works, but I’ve seen teams win 20 in a row. It can happen. We won 20 of 29 at one point in the season. Obviously, it’s an uphill battle, but we want to play good baseball. Today, overall, was a good game.
Bogaerts has had multiple hits in six of his last seven games and is 13 for 28 in that streak, improving his batting average to .308.
His sixth career Grand Slam was a left liner who just sneaked 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.
“Bottom down for the guys that smash and in, it’s gonna be a great day for them if you do that,” Ryan said.
Wacha has been Boston’s most consistent starter. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last seven outings.
“That’s when I’m the best – filling the zone, keeping that pace, keeping the pressure on them, counting the pitchers and staying on offense,” Wacha said.
The Twins had scored 14 runs through the first two games of the series, but Wacha held them without a hit until Sandy León hit a two-out single in the third. Luis Arraez followed with a two-run homer, his eighth of the year.
Gordon scored a two-run brace in the eighth, but was sent off trying to reach third to end the inning.
Minnesota claimed LHP Austin Davis on waivers from Boston before the game. Davis was 2-1 with a 5.47 ERA in 50 games with the Red Sox this season and was slated for assignment Monday. Davis will likely join the Twins’ active roster on Thursday.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to kick off a bullpen session on Friday.
Twins: 2B Jorge Polanco missed his fourth straight game. Polanco is struggling with an unspecified knee injury. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Polanco could have been available to pinch 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. Rangers will start RHP Glenn Otto (6-8, 4.79).
Twins: Minnesota starts a road swing 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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