Suddenly slumping Sox smacked
BOSTON - The Minnesota Twins, a team hitting just .239 entering Wednesday night, scored 11 runs in the first two innings and then cruised to a 15-8 win over the slumping Boston Red Sox.
Oswaldo Arcia stroked four hits, Pedro Florimon and Ryan Doumit homered and the Twins (15-15) collected 17 hits off loser Allen Webster (0-1) and Felix Doubront in the first seven innings (19 overall) and sent the Red Sox to their fifth loss in the last six games.
The loss dropped Boston, which has been in or tied for first place every day this season, into a tie with the victorious Orioles, both teams at 21-13.
Floriman had a solo homer and two-run double in a seven-run second inning, and Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe also drove in three runs.
Former Red Sox farmhand Ryan Pressly, a Rule 5 selection by the Twins, worked four effective innings in relief of Pedro Hernandez for his first major-league win.
Doumit, who homered for the second straight night, officially had three hits but really had four. His seventh inning drive to left-center should have been a double, but confusion on the base paths led to the Twins running into a double play.
Jonny Gomes drove in five runs for the Red Sox, four with a first-inning grand slam that tied the game 4-4.
David Ortiz went 0-for-5, ending his season-opening 15-game hitting streak. He had hit in his last 27 games, dating to last July.
Webster was called up to start in place of the struggling Doubront, who was moved to the bullpen. Doubront wound up in the game in the second inning.
Webster started and ended the first with strikeouts, but back-to-back walks to Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham started the trouble for Boston. Morneau doubled home a run, Plouffe's sacrifice fly to deep center made it 2-0, and Doumit then hit his second homer in his last three at-bats to make it 4-0.
It took Webster 31 pitches to get through the inning. It then took Hernandez 29 to get out of the bottom half, the first inning taking 37 minutes to complete. Neither starter made it to the third inning.
The Red Sox's first also started with a strikeout, but Shane Victorino then laid down a perfect bunt for a hit and moved to third on Dustin Pedroia's single off the Green Monster. Ortiz struck out, but Mike Napoli walked before Gomes launched his no-doubter, his fourth career grand slam and his first since hitting one at Minnesota last July.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia then doubled before Stephen Drew dropped a single in front of Arcia in right field. The inning ended when Drew was thrown out trying for a double.
Florimon opened the second with his second major-league homer, batting lefty; he ended the seven-run outburst with a two-run double, hitting right-handed. Florimon's double came after a two-run double by Aaron Hicks.
The Twins scored on a double-play grounder in the fourth, and they made it 14-6 on an RBI single by Plouffe and a run-scoring double by Arcia, his fourth hit, in the fifth.
NOTES: Ortiz denied PED use is a reason for his torrid start. "They test me all the time," he told the Boston Globe in a lengthy interview. "They make you pee and they test your blood, too. This year I would say I've probably been tested five times, peeing. Blood, just once. That was in spring training. They don't warn you. They just show up." He said hard work is the key to his success. ... Wednesday marked the 40th anniversary of the first use of the DH, with former Yankee Ron Blomberg, the first DH to bat, and Sox counterpart Orlando Cepeda honored before the game. ... Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks (ribs) and C David Ross (thigh, knee), who collided and then hit a barrier as Middlebrooks caught a foul pop Tuesday night, didn't start Wednesday, although Ross was available if needed. Middlebrooks wanted to play but was held out after a CT scan showed no rib fractures; the club was still awaiting MRI results. ... Minnesota's Kevin Correia faces John Lackey in Thursday night's series finale.