Twins drop fifth straight, 5-1 to Red Sox

The Minnesota Twins have lost five straight and are a

season-worst four games under .500. Facing a nine-game road trip,

starting with a three-game interleague series against first-place

Atlanta on Monday, things could quickly get out of hand if they

don’t rediscover their offense.

”It’s tough to win a ballgame when you don’t have any clutch

hits,” Chris Parmelee said after the Twins lost to the Boston Red

Sox 5-1 on Sunday in a game interrupted by a three-hour rain delay

– the longest ever at Target Field.

Minnesota managed only a single hit against Red Sox starter John

Lackey (2-4). Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks homered for

Boston, which won its fifth straight.

Pedro Hernandez (2-1) gave up three runs on a season-high nine

hits – including Middlebrooks’s solo homer in the second – in 4 1-3

innings.

”We need innings and we didn’t get it,” Twins manager Ron

Gardenhire said. ”He managed to keep the score at a pace where at

least we had a chance, but it wasn’t a great performance by any

means.”

The home crowd, in fact, cheered more during the rain delay

while watching the 1993 baseball movie ”The Sandlot” on the

Target Field big screen. Afterward, the few hundred fans who stuck

out the delay cheered as loud as they could when Joe Mauer came to

the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth.

The cheers quickly turned to groans as Mauer struck out swinging

for the third time, ending his AL-leading 15-game hit streak. The

Twins finished their latest homestand 2-7.

”It’s been a tough one, it’s not the way we wanted it to go,”

Parmelee said. ”But you can’t take it back now, you just have to

move forward.”

Lackey (2-4) ended his three-game losing streak by giving up one

unearned run and striking out five before dark skies and heavy rain

sent fans running for cover as he was warming up to start the

seventh.

”It’s tough,” Parmelee said ”You’re sitting down, you’re

trying to stay as loose as possible. You don’t really know when the

rain’s going to let up or when you’re going to be able to get back

out there.”

The Twins were 18-17 after beating the Chicago White Sox 10-3

last Monday and were only a couple games out of first place. Since

then, they’ve been outscored 33-14.

Lackey was perfect through four innings before Trevor Plouffe

led off the fifth with a double. He eventually came around to score

– although the Red Sox helped out with that when Lackey hit Oswaldo

Arcia in the foot, and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco’s errant throw to

first allowed Plouffe to make it 3-1.

Josh Roenicke relieved Hernandez with one out and the bases

loaded in the fifth, and got Middlebrooks on a popup and Jarrod

Saltalamacchia on a grounder to get keep the Red Sox from doing any

more damage.

NOTES: Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey threw 17 pitches in one

inning of a rehab appearance at Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday

night. Manager John Farrell said Bailey – on the DL since May 6

with a right bicep strain – is on track to be activated on Monday.

… Franklin Morales, on the DL since March 31 wish a low back

strain, started the game for Pawtucket and allowed five runs in

four innings. He’s expected to make at least one more rehab start.

… Boston SS Stephen Drew missed his second straight game with a

sore back. … Patrick Renna and Chauncey Leopardi, aka ”Ham” and

”Squints” from ”The Sandlot,” visited Gardenhire in his office

before the game. ”The players wondered what we did wrong to get

summoned to the manager’s office,” Renna said. … Jon Lester

(6-0, 2.72 ERA) starts on Monday as the Red Sox begin a three-game

series in Chicago against the White Sox. Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27)

is scheduled to start for Chicago. … Kevin Correia (4-3, 3.35)

starts for Minnesota as the Twins kick off a nine-game road trip

against Atlanta on Monday. Julio Teheran (2-1, 4.57) starts for the

Braves.