The Red Sox improved to 2-0-1 in Grapefruit League on Monday afternoon by taking down the Twins in Game 1 of the 2023 Chairman’s Cup. Boston defeated Minnesota by a final score of 4-1 at JetBlue Park.
Kutter Crawford, making his first start of the spring, provided the Sox with two scoreless innings out of the gate. The right-hander gave up two hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts in the process of retiring six of the eight batters he faced.
Both of those hits came in the top of the second. But Crawford escaped any further damage by getting Austin Martin to ground out to Enrique Hernandez deep in the hole at shortstop. Hernandez, in turn, made an impressive crossbody throw to Justin Turner over at first base to record the out.
In relief of Crawford, fellow righty Durbin Feltman received the first call out of the Boston bullpen. Feltman faced the minimum in the third despite giving up a one-out single to Max Kepler. Kepler attempted to steal second base while Ryan Jeffers was at the plate, but he was instead gunned down by Reese McGuire as part of an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.
After Chase Shugart and Taylor Broadway each put up zeroes in their respective innings of work, the Red Sox got on the board in their half of the fifth. Jarren Duran, who had already doubled in the third inning, led things off by clubbing his first home run of the spring over the faux Green Monster in left field.
The Twins, however, quickly got that run back in the following inning. After putting runners on the corners with one out in the sixth, minor-league Rule 5 pickup Joe Jacques allowed Kyle Farmer to score from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Trevor Larnach to pull Minnesota back even with Boston at 1-1.
That stalemate did not last long, though. With one out in the bottom of the sixth, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec laced a hard-hit double to left field off Simeon-Woods Richardson. Enmanuel Valdez and Caleb Hamilton followed by taking ball four to fill the bases for Ceddanne Rafaela, who — in the place of Duran — plated Dalbec with a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield. Greg Allen then provided some insurance by driving in Valdez with a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game in favor of the Sox.
Left-handers Cam Booser and Brendan Cellucci each kept the Twins off the board in the top half of the seventh and eighth innings. In the latter half of the eighth, Hamilton reached base via a one-out double. He then scored all the way from second when Rafaela lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Minnesota showed very little urgency in getting the ball back to the infield, which allowed Hamilton to accomplish the rare feat.
Taking a newfound 4-1 lead into the ninth, Jake Thompson closed things out for Boston to record his first save of the spring and secure a three-run victory. All told, Monday’s contest took a swift two hours and 24 hours to complete.
Other notable numbers:
Duran, who went 2-for-2 with two extra-base hits, is now batting .330/.378/.592 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 54 career Grapefruit League games dating back to 2019.
Alex Verdugo also recorded two hits on Monday. The left-handed hitter has kicked off his spring by going 4-for-5 (.800) in his first two Grapefruit League games of the year.
Next up: Kluber makes his 2023 debut
The Red Sox will hit the road and head to the east coast of Florida for their next two games. They will be taking on the Marlins in Jupiter on Tuesday evening. Veteran right-hander Corey Kluber is slated to make his first start for Boston opposite Miami left-hander Trevor Rogers.
First pitch from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and MLB Network.
(Picture of Jarren Duran: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)