Between the two teams, there were eight home runs hit tonight, as the Sox beat the Twins 11-8. The Sox took two out of three and sit 3.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians who come to town this weekend.
Let’s talk pitching before I get into the home run goodness.
Philip Humber was tonight’s starter, and he started out OK. He retired the first six batters he faced, but then it started getting shaky. Humber lasted 4.1 innings and he gave up five runs on six hits and three walks. He’s been a little off since that perfecto, but tonight the team picked him up.
Nate Jones came on and pitched 1.2 innings of relief. He gave up two hits and two walks in those innings, dropping his ERA to 1.23. Two of Humber’s earned runs were after Jones came on in relief. But when Jones pitches with the bases empty, he is fantastic. Jones picked up the win and moved to 2-0 on the season.
Will Ohman came out to start the seventh, and he was…well, not good. He pitched a third of an inning, and he gave up a home run to Justin Morneau. Ohman hasn’t been very hot lately. It’s becoming nerve-wracking. Jesse Crain finished the seventh perfectly. No more baserunners.
Matt Thornton came on and pitched wonderfully in the eighth. No baserunners, and he struck out one. Newly-minted closer Addison Reed came on in a non-save situation. Fun story: Reed learned he was named closer from his sister who saw it on Twitter. He started off a little shaky, giving up a hit to Joe Mauer and followed it with a home run to Morneau. But after that, he settled down and finished the game.
Now let’s talk offense.
The Sox hit many home runs today. How many? Let Elmo tell you.
The wind was blowing quite a bit today. How do I know? Other than Hawk and Stoney telling me quite often, I figured it out during AJ Pierzynski’s at-bat in the second inning. He hit it hard, and it was hooking foul. But that wind took it into the seats on the fair side, and Pierzynski hit his seventh homer of the season.
Oh but it gets better. The sixth inning was a GLORIOUS inning. So beautiful. The first batter was Paul Konerko. BOOM! Home run to left. Alex Rios was up next. BOOM! Home run to left. Ron Gardenhire pulled Cole De Vries at that point. The Twins starter was making his Major League debut and gave up six runs, three earned, in five-plus innings. Brian Duensing came on in relief. He faced Pierzynski who grounded out to first. Dayan Viciedo was the next batter, and he doubled to center. Alexei Ramirez singled to short, and Viciedo advanced to third on the throw. Duensing walked Orlando Hudson to load the bases.
Alejandro De Aza was the next batter. Back in the fifth, he hit a ball that hooked foul. First-base umpire Doug Eddings ruled it a home run before Gardenhire came out to argue. Video replay showed it did go foul, and De Aza was eventually called out on strikes. However in the sixth, there was no question about this ball. De Aza hit a grand slam to right. This was the first grand slam of his career, and the first grand slam this season for the Sox. In the bottom of the eighth, Viciedo hit a home run to left, putting the Sox up to 11 runs.
As fantastic as those home runs were, there was one play that I REALLY loved. It was a defensive play. In the fifth inning, the Twins had already scored four runs, giving them the lead at the time. With Brian Dozier at first, Alexi Casilla doubled to right. Rios, from deep in the outfield, picked up the ball and fired it to Gordon Beckham. Beckham made a beautiful pivot turn and threw to Pierzynski who was way off the plate. Like a graceful swan, AJ dove to his left and applied the tag at the plate for the out.
It would be wonderful if the Sox could continue this against the Indians this weekend. Jose Quintana, who was called up today as John Danks went on the DL with a shoulder injury, will be making the start against Jeanmar Gomez.