Boston’s Holt scores twice in 2-1 win over Twins
Boston Red Sox's Brock Holt (26) is congratulated by teammate Dustin Pedroia as he scores on a sacrifice fly by Xander Bogaerts in the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Minnesota Twins' Danny Santana turns to look at the ball as he runs home to score on a double by Joe Mauer in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester reacts as center fielder Brock Holt makes a difficult catch of a fly out by Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier which was momentarily lost in the outfield lights during the third inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Red Sox's Grady Sizemore watches his ground-rule double, which scored Mike Napoli, hit off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin during the second inning of a baseball game in Boston, Thursday, June 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox are still looking for a position for Brock Holt. The versatile rookie has made the search difficult by playing well wherever the club has put him.
Holt made his first professional start in center field and he appeared perfectly comfortable in his fifth position this season. He made a sensational diving catch to end the third inning and scored both Boston runs in the Red Sox’s 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins last night.
“It seems like Brock at some point in each game has an effect on what’s going on,” said Jon Lester, who weathered a shaky start and pitched six-plus strong innings. “I’m sure we’ll see him with catcher’s gear or on the mound at some point this year. The guy’s done an unbelievable job.”
Holt ended the third inning with a diving catch on a ball that left fielder Jonny Gomes lost in the twilight. Gomes signaled with his hands that he couldn’t see it, but Holt was already on the move and lunged just in time to complete the catch.
“Fortunately I was able to get over there and make a play,” Holt said.
Boston fans gave him a long ovation during his entire trot to the dugout, and teammates waited with high-fives and pats on the back on the way.
Holt happened to be up next and led off with a double off the Green Monster, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to put the Red Sox up 2-0.
“He comes out of nowhere and makes a diving catch. In a way, he took over the inning,” Boston Manager John Farrell said. “He doesn’t get hung up on moving to a position for the first time. He goes out and plays.”
Holt scored Boston’s first run after he singled and then came in on an RBI double by Dustin Pedroia.
Lester (8-7) needed 33 pitches to get out of the first inning on a hot, muggy night, then settled down and took a shutout into the sixth. He left with one out in the seventh after striking out six and holding the Twins to one run, four hits and a walk.
Edward Mujica pitched the ninth and earned his second save.
Phil Hughes (7-3) took the loss for the Twins, who have dropped four straight. The Red Sox have held Minnesota to one run and seven hits in the first two games of the series.
Hughes gave up two runs and eight hits in eight innings and struck out six.
“He did all he could do. He gave us a great opportunity to win. We just couldn’t come up with enough big hits,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said.
After Danny Santana opened the game with a single, Lester retired 13 of the next 14 batters and didn’t allow another hit until Kurt Suzuki singled with one out in the fifth.
Minnesota cut it to 2-1 in the sixth when Santana led off with a double, moved to third on a bunt by Brian Dozier, and scored on Joe Mauer’s double.
“We need to knock in some runs,” Gardenhire said. “We need more of them.”
Pedroia nearly broke open the game on a fly ball to left that was inches short of a two-run homer. Instead, it was a single, and Pedroia was caught in a rundown. The play was reviewed for several minutes, and the call on the field stood.
The Red Sox designated outfielder Grady Sizemore for assignment before the game.
The move comes as Sizemore struggles after injuries sidelined him between September 2011 and this season. He made the All-Star team three times with the Cleveland Indians then had seven operations since 2009, including surgery on both knees, his back and elbow.
Sizemore hit .333 in spring training and started in center field on opening day, when he homered in Boston’s 2-1 loss at Baltimore. But in 52 games, he hit .216 with two homers and 15 RBI.
The Red Sox recalled third baseman Garin Cecchini From Triple-A Pawtucket. He played one game with Boston on June 1, going 1-for-2 with an RBI double in a 4-0 win over Tampa Bay.
∎ Holt has made starts in all three outfield positions, as well as first and third base.
∎ Lester struck out Eduardo Escobar in the fifth inning for his 1,342nd career strikeout, passing Cy Young for fourth place on Boston’s career strikeout list.
∎ Lester threw nearly one-third of his 109 pitches in the first inning.
∎ Minnesota RHP Kyle Gibson (6-5, 3.55) will face Boston RHP John Lackey (8-4, 3.24) in the finale of the three-game series this afternoon.