MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Rick Porcello found himself in an unfamiliar situation Saturday: pitching with a lead.
At last, the Red Sox scored a run – 10 of them, in fact – with Porcello on the mound, and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner got to cruise all afternoon as Boston beat the Minnesota Twins 11-1.
”Finally, we scored for him,” manager John Farrell said. ”I think the first time in almost a month since he’s been on the mound, which, that’s pretty remarkable in its own right.”
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After equaling his 2016 loss total in less than a month, Porcello pitched seven sharp innings and won his first start since opening day. Chris Young homered twice, Dustin Pedroia had a three-run double and Sandy Leon added a late solo shot for Boston, which began the day with the third-fewest RBIs in the American League.
”It was awesome,” Porcello said. ”We exploded. The bats came alive there, obviously. C.Y. starting off with the home run and the offense just rolled from there.”
The Red Sox hadn’t scored for Porcello (2-4) in his last four starts, negating an impressive stretch in which he posted a 1.83 ERA over three outings and tossed quality starts in five of six. This time, the right-hander gave up seven hits, struck out six and walked none.
”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.”
Robbie Grossman’s homer off Porcello in the third accounted for Minnesota’s only run.
Boston took advantage of a costly Twins error and scored eight two-out runs in the second.
Nick Tepesch (0-1) gave up seven runs – six unearned – in his first major league appearance since last June, and his second since the 2014 season.
After Young’s solo shot in the second, Tepesch was one out from escaping with a runner on when shortstop Jorge Polanco bobbled Josh Rutledge’s routine grounder. Mookie Betts walked to load the bases for Pedroia, who followed with his double to left-center, and the Red Sox were well on their way to their most lopsided win of the season.
”I don’t know if I’ve ever seen two outs, two strikes, 0-2 count, nobody on base and then get eight runs,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”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.”
Twins reliever Michael Tonkin was designated for assignment after the game. He gave up Leon’s homer in the ninth, and walked three batters. ”He’s provided value along the way, and just encourage him to look at this as an opportunity even though there’s a lot of frustration, I’m sure,” Molitor said.
Catcher Chris Gimenez came on to get the final two outs of the inning for Minnesota. It was Gimenez’s second pitching appearance this season.
Tepesch wasn’t the only Minnesota pitcher making his debut. Drew Rucinski, who appeared in seven major league games with the Los Angeles Angels and joined the Twins as a minor league free agent, relieved Tepesch in the second and yielded an RBI single to Hanley Ramirez and a run-scoring double to Mitch Moreland. Young added another solo shot in the fifth off Rucinski, but he otherwise did OK, lasting 3 1/3 innings while striking out five and walking one.
Red Sox: LHP David Price could rejoin the rotation by the end of May provided he continues to feel good in his recovery from a strained left elbow. Farrell said Price’s next simulated session scheduled for Tuesday could be his last. ”At that point, provided he continues to feel as he’s doing, we look at a game after that,” Farrell said. … Farrell said OF Brock Holt (vertigo) was scheduled to be the DH for Triple-A Pawtucket, weather permitting.
Twins: 2B Brian Dozier sat out after spraining his left ankle Friday night and said X-rays were negative. Molitor said Dozier was day to day and didn’t expect him to play in Sunday’s series finale. ”We’ll see how the next couple days unfold and see if he can be ready after the off day,” Molitor said. … Molitor also said CF Byron Buxton was doing better and would take some swings after running into the outfield wall on Thursday. Buxton sat out Friday and didn’t participate in any baseball activities but watched the game from the dugout.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (2-2) takes the mound for the first time since learning he won’t be suspended for throwing behind Baltimore’s Manny Machado on Tuesday night. Sale has pitched seven-plus innings with two or fewer earned runs allowed in six consecutive starts.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (5-0) carries a 0.66 ERA into his seventh start of the season. He’ll face Boston for the first time since May 26, 2014, when he allowed six runs in five innings.