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In the first two games of the Twins-Red Sox series, reigning MVP catcher Joe Mauer went 4-9 with two doubles and three RBI. Tim Wakefield and the Sox finally managed to hold Mauer hitless (0-4, BB, R) in the rubber game of the series on Thursday afternoon at beautiful Target Field, but all the other Twins picked up the slack in an 8-0 rout of the Sox.
Twins SP Francisco Liriano got over his previous troubles against the Red Sox to dominate them over seven shutout innings. He escaped one-out, two-on jams over the first two innings and finished with just four hits and two walks allowed. He also struck out eight hitters thanks to his trademark, wicked slider (that had Jerry Remy and others comparing to the slider he was throwing during his dominant 2006 season).
Wakefield, meanwhile, had less luck with his knuckleball in the Minnesota air. Wake’s extra-fluttery knuckleball carried him to a career 7-4 record in the Metrodome, but now outside, his knuckleball didn’t knuckle as well. While none of his pitches were tatooed for home runs (it’s more than 400 feet to straightaway center field, so homering is difficult), but Wakefield did allow four doubles (2 to Denard Span) among his 10 hits and six runs (five earned) over 5.1 innings to take the loss.
David Ortiz sat out with the power lefty Liriano on the mound. In his place was righty Mike Lowell, making his season debut as the starting designated hitter. The Red Sox were hamstrung (no pun intended) and were short on outfielders thanks to Jacoby Ellsubury’s rib injury and Mike Cameron’s abdominal strain, meaning both Jeremy Hermida (LF) and Bill Hall (CF) were starting in the outfield. The injury woes left Mike Lowell as Terry Francona’s lone option at DH, but the matchup made sense anyway with the righty Lowell facing the lefty on the hill. Lowell responded with a 1-4 effort.
Of Boston’s six hits, Pedroia had three of them in a 3-4 effort. He’s currently tearing the cover off the ball and hitting to all fields this season. Add it all up, and Petey has a .405 AVG with 4 HR, 10 RBI.
Ortiz isn’t the only player struggling at the plate. Drew is too, and after an 0-4 effort with three strikeouts to drop his batting average to .143. If the whole outfield was healthy, he probably wouldn’t have played (given the lefty-lefty matchup), so I guess that kind of explains why he was so overmatched.
“I haven’t felt like that since probably ’06,” Liriano said after the game.
W: Francisco Liriano (1-0)
L: Tim Wakefield (0-1)