The Red Sox fell to 10-8 in Grapefruit League play on Monday afternoon following a 2-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
Tanner Houck made his fourth and final start of the spring for the Sox and was solid, allowing only two earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts over six innings of work.
Both runs Houck surrendered on Monday came by way of the home run ball. The right-hander served up a solo shot to Miguel Sano with one out in the fourth before doing the very same to Max Kepler to lead off the sixth.
After Kepler went deep, Houck was able to retire three of the final four batters he faced. The 25-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 82 (55 strikes), induced nine total swings-and-misses, and hovered around 94.7 mph with his four-seam fastball.
In relief of Houck, Hansel Robles received the first call out of the Boston bullpen to begin things in the seventh inning. Making his 2022 debut after signing a minor-league deal with the Sox last month, Robles maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk and one-out single by recording back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side. He threw 23 pitches (14 strikes) and averaged 95.3 mph with his heater.
From there, Jake Diekman recorded the first two outs of the eighth before Hirokazu Sawamura came on to end the inning.
On the other side of things, a Red Sox lineup that featured the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Enrique Hernandez, J.D. Martinez, Trevor Story, Bobby Dalbec, Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Arroyo, and Kevin Plawecki was held in check by four different Twins pitchers.
It took until the fourth inning for Boston to record their first hit on a leadoff double off the bat of Bogaerts, but he was stranded at third after Minnesota starter Bailey Ober got Martinez to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The only other two hits the Sox had were singles from Bobby Dalbec and Yolmer Sanchez, though nothing came of either as Boston went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and left just two runners on base as a team on Monday.
Next up: Chairman’s Cup finale
The Red Sox wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule by taking on the Twins once again back at JetBlue park on Tuesday afternoon. With the head-to-head series now tied at three games apiece, Tuesday’s contest will determine the winner of the 2022 Chairman’s Cup.
Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston and fellow right-hander Josh Winder is in line to do the same for Minnesota. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.
(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)