Preview: Twins at Red Sox
BOSTON -- Rick Porcello has hardly dominated Minnesota throughout his career.
But the right-hander did beat the Twins in Minnesota in June, and Saturday night he tries to do it again when the Red Sox face the Twins in Game 3 of the four-game series at Fenway Park.
Porcello, who is bidding to become the first-place Red Sox's first 13-game winner, pitched seven innings of one-hit, no-run ball at Target Field June 21. That raised his career record against the Twins, a former division mate when he pitched in Detroit, to 11-10, and lowered his ERA to 3.75 in 30 starts.
Saturday night, Porcello (12-4, 3.93 ERA) faces Jake Odorizzi of the Twins, who traded Eduardo Escobar to Arizona just before Friday night's game and Kyle Pressly to Houston after the game. Odorizzi doesn't know how long he'll remain a Twin either.
Odorizzi, the former Tampa Bay Ray, is 4-5 with a 4.45 ERA in 17 starts against the Red Sox, including 1-3 with a 5.93 ERA in nine games at Fenway. He comes in 4-6 with a 4.37 ERA for the year but has only one win in his last 13 starts.
Friday night, Craig Kimbrel's rare blown save erased Chris Sale's 12th win (he has thrown three straight scoreless starts, five of his last six), but Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a home run as the Red Sox built their lead over the rained-out New York Yankees atop the American League East to five games. It was Betts' first career walk-off homer, and the second time this week he hit his 25th homer. The home run he hit on Wednesday was wipred out when the game was postponed because of rain.
Betts' homer also allowed Boston to avert its first three-game losing streak since April.
Betts' blast put a quick end to a mild slump for the Red Sox outfielder.
"He's been great, all around doing a good job," said manager Alex Cora. "When he thinks he's struggling, he's not actually struggling ... he's one swing away from getting back to getting hot and he showed it tonight."
Now, the Red Sox turn to Porcello, who has gone 4-1 over his last seven starts. His last time out, at Baltimore, he survived an early rain delay and pitched six shutout innings, yielding six hits to get the win.
That came after he was smacked around by the Toronto Blue Jays in his previous start, when he gave up eight runs in two innings.
Brian Dozier is 8-for-43 (.186) but has three homers and eight RBIs against Porcello, while Eddie Rosario, whose two-run double tied Friday night's game with two outs in the ninth inning, is just 2-for-15 (.133).
Betts and J.D. Martinez are both 3-for-9 (.333) against Odorizzi. Mitch Moreland, who has been sitting with a sore left knee, is 1-for-12 (.083) and Jackie Bradley Jr. is 4-for-21 (.190) but has connected for two homers against Odorizzi.
Bradley hit a two-run homer and Rafael Devers (112.1 mph exit velocity) forced extra innings with a solo shot Friday night.
The trading of Escobar was flashing across the TV screen in Paul Molitor's office as the Twins' manager talked to the media before the game. Molitor said he hadn't been told of a deal.
After the game, the players said they hadn't been made aware of Pressly's departure during the game. The righty received hugs from his now-former teammates in the clubhouse after the game.
"Just a sucky all-around day," said Dozier, who, as usual, is also in the middle of trade rumors.
The Twins recalled former All-Star Miguel Sano from the minors to replace Escobar on the roster.
Prior to the game, Twins staple Joe Mauer was asked by the St. Paul Pioneer Press if he had been approached about waiving his no-trade clause.
"That might be something for them (in the Twins front office)," Mauer said. "Between the last time we talked (and now), I haven't heard anything."