Betts’ first career walk-off homer tops Twins in 10th
By Doug Alden
BOSTON (AP) — Mookie Betts homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Betts’ first career game-ending homer capped a wild last few innings. The Twins rallied from a 2-1 deficit to take a one-run lead in the top of the ninth. Rafael Devers hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning to force extras. Betts drove Matt Belisle’s first pitch of the night over the Green Monster setting off a celebration to end a hot, muggy night at Fenway Park.
Betts’ teammates cooled him off by dousing him with a cooler full of ice water when the All-Start right fielder stepped out of the dugout for a curtain call.
Tyler Thornburg (1-0) got the win by holding the Twins scoreless in the 10th after Craig Kimbrel blew a shot at his 33rd save in the ninth.
Eddie Rosario hit a two-run double with two outs in the ninth to give Minnesota its first lead.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer in the fifth for Boston and Chris Sale struck out 10 over six scoreless innings. Sale was on track to win his sixth straight start before the late hits took both starters out of the decision.
Kimbrel, who came in for the last out of the eighth but couldn’t survive his own control issues in the ninth. Robbie Grossman drew a walk with one out and advanced on a wild pitch, Jorge Polanco walked with two outs and Rosario drove in both with a double to center, giving the Twins their first lead of the night.
It didn’t last long. Devers homered off Fernando Rodney with a line drive to right, just out of Max Kepler’s reach as he crashed hard into the short wall. Kepler stayed down on the warning track for a minute or two but remained in the game.
It was the sixth blown save of the season for Rodney. Belisle (1-1) took over in the 10th and faced only Betts, who ended it with his 25th homer of the season.
Sale extended his scoreless-innings streak to 23 straight innings and picked up his 200th strikeout when he got Mitch Garver swinging to end the first.
Lance Lynn also pitched six innings, holding Boston to just two runs on Bradley’s homer in the fifth. He struck out three and walked two.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer, who has a career batting average of .195 against Sale, had the night off until pinch-hitting in the eighth, flying out to left on the first pitch from Kimbrel. . The Twins were also without IF Eduardo Escobar, who was traded to Arizona earlier Tuesday for three prospects. Escobar was second on the club in hits (101) and led Minnesota with 63 RBIs.
Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland was out of the starting lineup for the second straight night with soreness in his left knee. Moreland said he’s trying to give the knee a few days of rest and hopes to be back later in the weekend.
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-6, 4.37 ERA) is 4-5 in 17 career starts against Boston with an ERA of 4.45.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (12-4, 3.93) didn’t allow a run in his last start, scattering six hits over six innings in Boston’s 5-3 win at Baltimore on Monday.