Steven Wright was outstanding once again for the Red Sox Thursday night against the Twins. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)
When the Red Sox put a heap of runs on the Giants Wednesday, it ended up being integral those runs were scored with way their pitching went.
The monsoon of runs continued Thursday, but the pitching followed this time on the way to the Red Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins.
Steven Wright took a perfect game 4 1/3 innings before Max Kepler singled to left field just over the outstretched arm of Travis Shaw at third base in the fifth. Wright threw just 51 pitches in that stretch before surrendering a pair of runs (only one of which being earned) in the frame.
The 31-year-old knuckleballer ultimately went eight innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The nine strikeouts matched Wright’s career high.
The Red Sox found a way to score early yet again — even earlier than Wednesday, in fact — with Mookie Betts taking Twins starter Tyler Duffy 410 feet into the Monster Seats on the first pitch of the game. The dinger turned out to be a sign of what was to come, as the Red Sox put two more runs on the board in the inning, adding another trio in the third.
The 1-2-3-4 hitters for the Red Sox in Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz were outstanding at the dish for the Red Sox, going a combined 14-for-19, with 10 runs scored and nine RBIs. Ortiz had a pair of hits, while Betts and Bogaerts had three and Pedroia had five.
With Fenway resonating with “Papi” chants in the bottom of the eighth inning, Ortiz answered the call, blasting a two-run home run over the home bullpen into the right field bleachers to cap the scoring for the Red Sox.
Pedroia’s 5-for-5 performance was the fourth five-hit game of his career.
Jackie Bradley Jr. put together a stellar performance at the plate as well, going 2-for-4 with a team-high three RBIs, including a home run to straightaway center field in the fifth inning. His 15th home run of the season came in his 300th at-bat, a marker that took him 700 at-bats across three seasons to attain prior to 2016.
Wright’s outing was not only essential in giving the Red Sox an opportunity to win the game, but also to help replenish arms in the bullpen. After a night where the Red Sox mowed through four relievers, Wright gave the bullpen an opportunity to catch it’s breath.
Clay Buchholz relieved Wright in the ninth, allowing a double, but no runs. It was his first appearance since July 2.
The Red Sox’ 18 first inning home runs are tied with the sixth frame for the team’s most homers in an inning
Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— Betts didn’t wait long to homer in the game, drilling Tyler Duffy’s first pitch into the Monster Seats to start the game. The offense followed suit in scoring, putting six runs on the board in the first three frames.
— Bradley Jr. made a stellar diving grab in center field to end the inning and keep Wright’s perfect game going through four frames.
— After entering the game 0 for his last 10, Pedroia had a redeeming evening at the plate, putting together a 5-for-5 performance.
— Wright matched his career high of nine strikeouts, which he set last season on August 5 against the Yankees.
— All but one Red Sox reached base at least once, with 7 of 10 batters grabbing at least one hit.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Ryan Hanigan had a night to forget at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while grounding into a double play.
— After pounding three home runs just a night prior, Hanley Ramirez was absent offensively, going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.