Red Sox survive early slugfest to beat Twins 9-4: Notes and highlights from a series winner for the Sox

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By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

After using nine pitchers in a 17-inning marathon, in the next game the Red Sox used three. They topped the Minnesota Twins 9-4 on Wednesday behind a three-RBI night for Brock Holt and five other Red Sox driving in a run.

Boston grabs the series win on the road against the league-best Twins, improving to 40-35 on the season and rebounding quickly from their 17-inning loss that lasted into the wee hours of Wednesday.

The game started as back-and-forth as any this season, featuring four lead changes in the first five innings. The Twins got on the board first after Eddie Rosario scratched home Nelson Cruz on a two-out single off starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

But the Red Sox quickly answered in the top of the second, as Twins starter Kyle Gibson labored through a 38-pitch inning. Gibson allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in the frame.

The Red Sox' two-run lead held until the bottom of the fourth, when second baseman Willians Astudio and right fielder Max Kepler each blasted a solo homer within three at-bats, taking Minny from down 3-2 to back on top 4-3.

Still, the resilient Red Sox battled back yet again in the top of the fifth. Xander Bogaerts tied the game with a sharp line-drive double, the 200th of his career, then Holt gave them a 5-4 lead with a sac fly and Michael Chavis tacked on another with a base hit to make it 6-4 Boston.

The Sox never looked back from there. Rodriguez helped preserve the Red Sox bullpen with seven innings and 111 pitches. The lefty allowed four earned on eight hits and three walks overall in the win, improving to 8-4. But he did strike out nine, including slugger Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the seventh with the Red Sox still protecting a two-run lead.

Notes

-- Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers exited the game in the fifth inning with tightness in his right hamstring. He pulled up after hustling for an infield single, then had to leave after going from first to third on Bogaerts' RBI double.

The team has already listed Devers as day-to-day. Alex Cora said after the game that the Red Sox will "probably stay away from" Devers in Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays, but it sounds like the third baseman is going to be OK.

-- Jackie Bradley Jr. threw C.J. Cron out at home plate to help minimize the Twins' damage in the first inning. The outfield assist was Bradley's fifth of the season.

-- The Red Sox now get a day off on Thursday. The bullpen, save for Matt Barnes and Marcus Walden, gets two nights of rest thanks to Rodriguez's imperfect but gutsy outing. Wednesday marked the first time since the first two starts of Rodriguez's major league career that he made a second straight start of at least seven innings.

-- All in all, a good series win for the Red Sox against top competition, a rare occurrence in the first half of this season. The Twins come to Fenway Park for the second series of the season Sept. 3-5. Perhaps they meet for a third time in October.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].