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Well, at least the fans that stuck around can now say they’ve seen The Sandlot.
Nearly six and a half hours after the first pitch, Junichi Tazawa retired Twins right fielder Chris Parmelee to give the Red Sox their fifth straight win. With the victory, Boston pulled within a half game of the first place New York Yankees, whose game against the Toronto Blue Jays was rained out.
John Lackey picked up his second win of the 2013 season, going six sharp innings before the rain delay cut his outing short. He gave up just one hit and struck out five. The Twins’ only run was unearned, thanks to (another) Pedro Ciriaco error, his sixth of the season (in just 19 games, mind you).
Will Middlebrooks continued his hot hitting with a solo home run to put the Red Sox ahead in the second inning. Boston would never trail.
The Red Sox tacked on individual runs in the third and fifth innings as well. In the third, Dustin Pedroia grounded the ball to third with runners on first and third, a potential double play ball that Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe threw into right field for an error, allowing Shane Victorino to score. Two innings later, three straight singles by the heart of the Red Sox order – a base hit to left by Pedroia, a single to right center by David Ortiz, and a ball back up the middle by Mike Napoli – plated another run to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
Pedroia tacked on two more fortuitous runs in the ninth to give the Red Sox a 5-1 cushion, as his fly ball to deep left bounced off the heel of left fielder Josh Willingham‘s glove, rolled along the top of the wall, then disappeared behind it for a two-run home run. The lucky bounce became Pedroia’s second home run of the season.
Following the rain delay, the Red Sox bullpen pitched three scoreless innings in relief, one each from Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara, and Tazawa. Uehara struck out Joe Mauer to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, while Tazawa pitched around two base hits to start the bottom of the ninth.
Those few fans who did stick around for the rain delay were treated to more than just a funky home run and an entire stadium section to themselves (not to mention enough foul balls to go around!). During the rain delay, the Target Field technicians were kind enough to provide a little mid-game entertainment, showing The Sandlot on the scoreboard for those who stuck out the heavy rain. According to Don and Jerry, supposedly the cast of the movie was on hand to watch themselves through the rain drops.
The Red Sox will head to U.S. Cellular Field to take on the Chicago White Sox in search of their sixth win in a row. Jon Lester will look to improve to 7-0 on the season opposite Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27 ERA). The series starts Monday night at 8:10 PM.