A half-hour intermission between games during Wednesday’s doubleheader at Target Field could not slow Alex Verdugo down, as the outfielder once again played a key role in the Red Sox’ 7-1 victory over the Twins in Game 2 of the twin bill.
After making a game-saving catch for the final out of the day cap, Verdugo picked up where he left off by going 3-for-4 at the plate in the night cap.
Matched up against another tough opponent in Twins right-hander Jose Berrios, it took the Sox offense as a whole some time to get going on Wednesday, but they eventually broke through in the fifth.
There, already trailing by a run, a one-out single off the bat of Bobby Dalbec filled the bases for Franchy Cordero, who proceeded to draw a four-pitch walk to drive in his side’s first run of the night.
The Twins then pulled Berrios for Tyler Duffey, though the stalemate they had put themselves in did not last all that long.
That being the case because with two outs in the frame and the bases still loaded, Verdugo drilled a two-run, go-ahead single to right field to give the Sox their first lead of the night.
A wild pitch from Duffey allowed Cordero to score from third to make it a 4-1 contest, and two more walks once again filled the bases for Rafael Devers.
Devers, who led off the top of the fifth with a double, greeted new Twins left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar by lacing a two-run single to right, which gave the Red Sox a 6-1 edge in the late stages.
Verdugo provided some insurance in the seventh by taking Thielbar deep to right field on a a down-and-in fastball for his second home run of the season.
The 24-year-old’s 406-foot blast put Boston up 7-1, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.
Rodriguez pulls it together for 5 strong frames
Another game, another Red Sox starter providing five solid innings of work on Wednesday.
This time around, it was Eduardo Rodriguez’s time to shine, as the left-hander held the Twins to just one run on five hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts in his second start of the young season.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (51 strikes), the 28-year-old ultimately improved to 2-0 following Wednesday’s impressive showing. His next start should come against the Mariners on Tuesday.
Pair of rookies wrap things up
In relief of Rodriguez, rookie right-hander Garrett Whitlock came on for his first appearance in six days and needed all of 10 pitches to retire the three hitters he faced in order in the sixth.
From there, another rookie reliever — Eduard Bazardo — got the call for the seventh inning in what was his big-league debut.
The 25-year-old righty out of Venezuela was called up from Boston’s alternate training site to serve as the club’s 27th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader.
He worked his way around two walks and picked up his first major-league strikeout en route to preserving the 7-1 victory for the Sox.
Next up: Last game of road trip
After sweeping Wednesday’s twin bill and extending their winning streak to nine consecutive games, the Red Sox will go for the four-game sweep over the reeling Twins on Thursday afternoon.
Right-hander Garrett Richards will be getting the ball for Boston in the series finale, and he will be matched up against fellow righty Michael Pineda.
First pitch Thursday (also Jackie Robinson Day) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be going for their 10th straight win.
(Picture of Alex Verdugo: David Berding/Getty Images)