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The Sox almost wasted a stellar outing from Josh Beckett, but they came through in the clutch as they squeaked by Minnesota by a score of 2-1 in the 11th inning to take 3 of 4 from the Twins.
Pitching wasn’t the issue tonight as Beckett once again shined bright. He went 7.0 strong innings allowing no runs, walking one, and striking out five. In the process, Beckett lowered his season ERA to 1.99.
The offense was absent for most of the evening, but the Sox were on the board first in the 5th innings as Adrian Gonzalez singled in Jason Varitek for his 25th RBI of the season. A-Gonz and Varitek were the only Sox with multi-hit games. The other offensive note from the game was Jacoby Ellsbury, who singled in the 3rd inning to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
Boston’s pitching looked like it would coast to the 1-0 win, but in the 8th, reliever Alfredo Aceves allowed a single to Denard Span. Span then advanced to 2nd on a balk. Jonathan Papelbon was brought into the game with 2 outs in the 8th, but allowed a single to Jason Kubel which allowed Span to score. Papelbon struck out Justin Mourneau to stop the bleeding, but the damage was done and Pap’ had his first blown save of the season.
The bats on both sides stayed silent until the 11th. Jed Lowrie drew a one-out walk and was replaced by hot prospect Jose Iglesias. The fireworks commenced as Carl Crawford hit a double off the wall and the speedy Iglesias raced around all the way from first and just beat the throw from left field to give Boston the 2-1 win. Hideki Okajima picked up his first win of the season by tossing 2.0 innings of scoreless relief.
Minnesota wasted a start from Nick Blackburn who went 6.1 innings and gave up just one run and struck out five. Blackburn made the start in place of “Mr. No-Hitter” Francisco Liriano due to suffering from the flu.
Up next for the Sox is a quick, two-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto before a day off on Thursday and then it is onto a weekend series in the Bronx against the Yankees. Boston won’t have another scheduled day off until June 2nd.