Rick Porcello had his second straight rough outing Wednesday. (Hannah Foslier/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS — This is not working out, as the Red Sox
‘ latest loss reminded us.
The pitcher, Rick Porcello, who the Red Sox designated their ace — judging by the $95 million committed over the next five seasons — allowed six runs over seven innings and now has an ERA of 5.37. In his last two starts, Porcello has given up 13 runs in 11 1/3 innings.
The three hitters (David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez) the team invested in combined $52 million for this season finished off the Sox’ three-game series against the Twins with four hits (4-for-35, .115) and two RBI between them.
Most importantly for the Red Sox, the end result of the struggles was a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins after Paul Molitor’s club’s 6-4 victory over the Sox Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.
The latest defeat pushed the Sox to five games under .500, entrenching their position in the basement of the American League East.
The three games also marked the first time the Twins have swept the Red Sox since completing the feat in June 13-15, 2006 at the old since demolished Metrodome.
The only thing keeping the Red Sox competitive in the series finale were a pair of two-run homers from Dustin Pedroia.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Pedroia. The second baseman finished the series with a team-high five hits after his two homers and now finds his batting average at .290. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– As has been a trend this season, the Red Sox allowed their opponent to score immediately after their own offensive flurry. This time it was the Twins putting up three runs against Porcello in the third inning, a half inning after Pedroia’s first homer. The hosts’ response came in the form of two walks and three singles, including a Torii Hunter cue shot down the first base line that plated a pair.
– Porcello allowed his 10th and 11th homers of the season. The first came on a first-pitch changeup to Aaron Hicks in the fourth inning, with the Twins adding another in the sixth thanks to Eddie Rosario. The sinkerballer has now allowed the fourth-most homers of any pitcher in the majors.
– Swihart made a legitimate bid at tying the game in the seventh inning, driving a Brian Duensing pitch to the wall in left field. But Rosario, the Twins’ defensively-challenged left fielder, reached up at the last minute to grab the frame’s final out before crashing into the wall.
– Ortiz’s struggles were punctuated in the eighth inning, grounding out to third base with runners on first and second and two outs. The DH wasn’t able to continue his dominance at Target Field, finishing off the series going 1-for-12 to lower his batting average to .216. His day Wednesday included three ground outs and a pop up to the catcher.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Xander Bogaerts continued to display his improvement when it comes to defense. This time the shortstop ranged into the hole between short and third base, gathered in a Joe Mauer, leaped in the air (Derek Jeter-style) and tossed to first to end the first inning.
– The two home runs marked the second time this season Pedroia has managed a multiple home run game. It was the sixth time in his career he has managed the feat.
– Blake Swihart threw out his fourth base-stealer in 19 attempts, nailing Eduardo Escobar in the sixth inning. Escobar, who already had one stolen base in the game, was ruled out after a replay. It was particularly important at the time considering Eddie Rosario launched the first pitch after the replay into the right field bleachers to build the Twins’ lead back up to two runs.