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Pavano Slows Down Sox Bats, Helps Twins Win in Target Field Opener

Jon Lester

No one can really predict the weather, but for the Minnesota Twins it couldn’t have been any sunnier Monday afternoon. It was their first home game in their new ballpark, Target Field, and the Red Sox were the unlucky ones to stop by to see the unveiling. The Sox just couldn’t get things going and ended up with the 5-2 loss.

With the weather cooperating in Minnesota, something that doesn’t occur often, former Yankee-bust Carl Pavano showed that he can still pitch. He won the first game for the Twins in their new ballpark, also improving his record to 2-0 to start off the season. Pavano went 6.0 innings, allowing one run off four hits while striking out four and walking one.

On the other hand, Jon Lester struggled to remain consistent as he only went 5.0 innings while giving up four runs off nine hits. Lester had troubles throwing over the plate as he threw only 59-of-107 pitches for strikes. He walked three batters and struck out five on his way to his first loss of the season.   

“I just stunk,” Lester said. “Didn’t make pitches, and I really don’t know what else to say.”

The loss brought the Sox to 3-4 on the year while the Twins continue to impress and are 6-2, with five of those wins already on the road.

The Twins got off to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Michael Cuddyer singled to left to drive in Denard Span. Jason Kubel then reached base on an infield single that brought in Orlando Hudson to score the second run of the inning.

Minnesota added another run in the second when reigning MVP Joe Mauer hit a double to left that drove in Nick Punto.

The Red Sox finally got on the board in the fourth when David Ortiz hit a double to left (that could’ve been caught) that drove in Kevin Youkilis. It was only Ortiz’s third hit of the year, but was his second double and second RBI.

After the Sox finally scored, Mauer came up to the plate again and drove in another run off an infield single to give the Twins a 4-1 lead. The Sox can never get a break, especially when it comes to facing Mauer.

A couple innings later the first home run was hit in Target Field and it was not by a Boston player. It was hit by Kubel , a single shot to the right to bring the score to 5-1. Dustin Pedroia would drive in Jeremy Hermida in the eighth, but that wasn’t enough for the mighty Twins.

The Sox really struggled to get things going and that was one of the biggest fears coming into the season. There is no real ‘power’ threat in the lineup, especially with Big Papi hitting .208 and Victor Martinez hitting .250 thus far. The pitching hasn’t been there either as both Lester and Josh Beckett have been very inconsistent in their outings so far. If the Red Sox really want to win some games they need to stick to the type of team they have and play strong defense and pitch well. It also doesn’t help when the bullpen keeps blowing games.

The two teams have Tuesday off and on Wednesday John Lackey will face off against Kevin Slowey. Both pitchers are coming off impressive starts, but Slowey got the win in his decision while Lackey’s performance kept him winless for the year.

Game Notes

  • The Red Sox left four runners on base while the Twins left 11. Boston went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position while Minnesota went 4-for-16.
  • Span had two stolen bases and Punto had one for the Twins. Marco Scutaro was picked off at second base for the Sox.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury sat out with sore ribs after colliding with Adrian Beltre over the weekend. Scutaro led off in his place and Hermida took his place in left field.   
  • MLB commissioner Bud Selig was in attendance for the home opener and said that the park will most likely be a future all-star game site as soon as 2014.

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