The Red Sox fell behind early and could not recover against the Twins on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 10-4 at Fenway Park to drop back to under .500 on the season at 9-10.
Corey Kluber, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, was unable to reverse his early-season struggles. Instead, the veteran right-hander got shelled for seven runs (all earned) on six hits, two walks, and two hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts over five innings of work.
The Twins got to Kluber right away in the top of the first. After Max Kepler drew a leadoff walk and Byron Buxton ripped a one-out double, Trevor Larnach drove in the first run of the game by plating Kepler on an RBI groundout. Moments later, Edouard Julien gave Minnesota a 3-0 lead out of the gate by clubbing a 418-foot two-run home run into the right field bleachers.
Kluber managed to get through a scoreless second inning but ran into more trouble in the third. After walking Larnach and plunking Julien to put runners at first and second with one out, the righty gave up an RBI single to Jose Miranda. Joey Gallo followed by unloading on a hanging, 2-2 curveball and sending it 417 feet to deep right field.
Gallo’s three-run blast put the Twins up, 7-0, heading into the bottom of the third. The Red Sox then got one of those runs back when Raimel Tapia scored Triston Casas from third base on an RBI groundout off opposing starter Joe Ryan.
Kluber, for his part, retired the side in order in the fourth and stranded two runners in a scoreless fifth inning. Still, it was a discouraging outing for the 36-year-old, who finished with 103 pitches (65 strikes) and is now 0-4 with an ERA of 8.50 to begin his tenure in Boston.
With Kluber’s day over, the Red Sox lineup struck again in the latter half of the fifth. Jarren Duran led off with a hustle double, moved up to third on an Enmanuel Valdez single, and then scored his side’s second run as Alex Verdugo grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
Trailing 7-2 going into the sixth, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Brasier sandwiched a Max Kepler double in between the first two outs of the inning before issuing a six-pitch walk to Buxton. He then served up a 423-foot three-run home run to Larnach that gave the Twins a commanding 10-2 advantage.
Enrique Hernandez took Ryan 371 feet over the Green Monster with two outs in the bottom sixth for his third home run of the season and the 100th of his career. After Richard Bleier and Kaleb Ort combined for three scoreless innings of relief, the Red Sox made things somewhat interesting in the ninth.
Hernandez, Reese McGuire, and Casas all reached to fill the bases with no outs. Duran then plated Hernandez from third with a sacrifice fly to make it a 10-4 game. But Twins reliever Brent Headrick got Valdez to line out and Verdugo to fly out to kill any chances of a comeback.
All told, the Red Sox went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team in Wednesday’s 10-4 loss, which took two hours and 37 minutes to complete.
Valdez has two hits, fielding error in debut
Second baseman Enmanuel Valdez made his major-league debut on Wednesday night after getting called up from Triple-A Worcester earlier in the afternoon. The 24-year-old began his day by singling to the opposite field in each of his first two plate appearances. He then struck out swinging in the seventh and lined out in the ninth to finish 2-for-4 with two left on base.
Defensively, Valdez committed the game’s only error. With two outs and one runner on in the top of the fifth, Valdez could not come up with a 201-foot flyball off the bat of Joey Gallo that landed between him and Alex Verdugo in the right field glass. He was charged with a fielding error as a result.
Hernandez’s 100th career home run
By taking Joe Ryan deep into the Monster seats in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s loss, Enrique Hernandez notched the 100th home run of his big-league career. The solo shot left his bat at 101.4 mph and travelled 371 feet at a launch angle of 30 degrees.
Next up: Maeda vs. Houck to close out homestand
The Red Sox will once again look to secure a series victory over the Twins on Thursday afternoon before embarking on a two-city, six-game road trip. Tanner Houck is slated to start for Boston opposite fellow right-hander Kenta Maeda.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.
(Picture of Corey Kluber: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)