MLB

Sun, Aug 5, 2012 - 1:35 PM ET
 

Twins-Red Sox Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Boston Red Sox recognize their playoff hopes are fading, but they don't seem to have a way to stop it.

The Red Sox will try to avoid being swept at home in a four-game series by the Minnesota Twins for the first time in 21 years in Sunday's finale.

Boston came into this set having won four of six games, but it hasn't built on the momentum as Minnesota has rallied to consecutive victories.

Joe Mauer hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Alfredo Aceves for a 6-4 win Saturday after Pedro Ciriaco broke an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit home run for the Red Sox.

The loss came after Boston (53-55) failed to protect a 5-1 lead Friday, losing 6-5 in 10 innings. The Red Sox were shut out in the series opener.

Boston, which has lost four straight overall, has dropped 10 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East and is five games behind in the wild-card race

"They're all devastating now," Nick Punto said. "You get this late in the season and you look at the standings and we're not really sitting in a great position. Wild card, there's a lot of teams. We can't afford to lose games like that.''

While the Twins (47-60) have the second-worst record in the AL, they are showing why they can't be taken lightly down the stretch with Mauer and Justin Morneau both hitting well. Minnesota has won seven of nine.

"We're playing good baseball," Mauer said. "We're just fighting. It's been three tough games here in Boston, and we're never out of it. That's the mentality that we have, even since the start of the season, but it's definitely nice to pull it out late."

The Twins haven't recorded a four-game sweep in Boston since July 18-21, 1991.

Carl Crawford, who hit a run-scoring double Saturday after going 3 for 5 Friday, will try to help Boston bounce back Sunday, although he is 1 for 14 against Twins scheduled starter Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.43 ERA).

Boston turns to Franklin Morales (2-2, 3.32), who starts in place of Josh Beckett after he left Tuesday's start with back spasms.

Morales made five starts earlier this year, going 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA.

The left-hander doesn't have a decision in four career relief appearances against the Twins, including two this season. He's allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings this year.

He'll try to cool off the Twins. Besides Mauer, Boston's also had trouble with Morneau, who is 8 for 12 with three doubles and three RBIs in the series.

Blackburn was sharp his last time out, giving up two runs and five hits in eight innings of a 4-3 loss to Chicago last Tuesday.

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA in his career against the Red Sox. He allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings of an 11-2 defeat April 24.

Kelly Shoppach, who went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts Saturday, is 9 for 18 with three homers and two doubles lifetime against Blackburn.

Tagged: Red Sox, Twins, Joe Mauer, Nick Blackburn

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Your first half MVP's are... Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Jon Paul Morosi is joined by Eno Sarris and Joe Hamrahi to discuss the best play...

Joey Gallo Wins Futures Game MVP Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Futures game MVP Joey Gallo tells JP Morosi about his clutch home run and why he...

Your first half Cy Young award winners are... Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Jon Paul Morosi is joined by Eno Sarris and Joe Hamrahi to discuss the best MLB ...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..