Red Sox win fifth in row, beat Twins on rainy day
Boston Red Sox's Will Middlebrooks is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run against Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Pedro Hernandez during the second inning of a baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)
Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) runs to the dugout as grounds crew tarp the field during a rain delay called during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey throws against the Minnesota Twins during the inning inning of a baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)
Boston Red Sox Dustin Pedroia (15) hits an RBI as he grounds into a fielder's choice against Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Pedro Hernandez during the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)
Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer (7) strikes out against Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, right, catches during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)
MINNEAPOLIS – At least John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox had something to keep themselves entertained during a long rain delay yesterday.
Lackey allowed one hit over six innings before a three-hour delay, Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks homered and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-1, for their fifth straight victory.
Fans at Target Field saw more than the Twins’ fifth straight loss.
The longest delay ever at the ballpark lasted long enough for the 1993 movie The Sandlot to be shown in its entirety on the videoboard. Several cast and crew members were at the stadium to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary.
When asked what he did during the delay, Lackey laughed and said he did what everyone else left at the stadium did while it poured.
“Watched The Sandlot. I hadn’t seen that in a while,” he said before getting back to talking about his performance. “I wanted to go at least another inning. I was definitely frustrated a little bit not to keep going. But winning the game is all that really matters.”
The game resumed about 80 minutes after the movie ended and many fans moved into the first eight rows behind the dugouts.
Lackey (2-4) gave up one unearned run and struck out five before dark skies and heavy rain sent fans running for cover as he was warming up to start the seventh.
Lackey ended his three-game losing streak. He didn’t allow a runner until Trevor Plouffe led off the fifth with a double. Plouffe later scored on shortstop Pedro Ciriaco’s throwing error.
“Crisp. He was powerful,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “Overall just a solid performance for him.”
Earlier this month, Lackey’s throwing error against the Twins resulted in four unearned runs and a frustrating loss in the midst of a stretch where the Red Sox went 2-9.
After Andrew Miller pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Koji Uehara loaded the bases in the eighth, but struck out Joe Mauer to end the threat.
“We didn’t really come up with key hits when we needed to or when we wanted to,” Twins outfielder Chris Parmelee said. “It’s tough to win a ballgame when you don’t have any clutch hits.”
Junichi Tazawa pitched the ninth and capped a weekend where the Red Sox bullpen didn’t allow a run.
Mauer’s 15-game hitting streak was snapped. The All-Star catcher struck out three times and has now fanned in 16 straight games.
“It’s baseball, man,” Plouffe said. “These games, they happen throughout the season and it’s something you’ve got to deal with.”
Pedroia drove in three runs, scored twice and extended his hitting streak to 11 games. His two-run homer in the ninth bounced off the wrist of a leaping Josh Willingham and over the left-field wall.
“Lucky,” Pedroia said. “But we’ll take the break. They’re usually robbing ’em.”
Middlebrooks’s two-out homer in the second off Pedro Hernandez (2-1) traveled 402 feet and flew over the flower pots on top of the scoreboard wall in right-center field.
Movie or no movie, Farrell chuckled when asked about his team’s focus coming out of the long delay.
“That’s built in,” he said. “Even with a three-hour rain delay, they’re rarin’ to go. Keeping this group focused, I’m not going to say is not an issue, but the game is clearly a priority to them.”
∎ Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey threw 17 pitches in one inning of a rehab appearance at Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night. Farrell said Bailey – on the DL since May 6 with a right bicep strain – is on track to be activated today.
∎ Franklin Morales, on the DL since March 31 with a low back strain, started the game for Pawtucket and allowed five runs in four innings. He’s expected to make at least one more rehab start.
∎ Boston SS Stephen Drew missed his second straight game with a sore back.
∎ Patrick Renna and Chauncey Leopardi, aka “Ham” and “Squints” from The Sandlot, visited Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire in his office before the game. “The players wondered what we did wrong to get summoned to the manager’s office,” Renna said.
∎ Jon Lester (6-0, 2.72 ERA) starts today as the Red Sox begin a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27) is scheduled to start for Chicago.