I have to be the first to admit that the panic button I hit following Boston's loss Monday night in New York was, at best, premature.
The Sox have put back-to-back solid wins against two of the best teams in the American League, having received another excellent outing from starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and just enough bullpen help to defeat the Minnesota Twins last night, 3-2, at Fenway.
The problems that existed Monday are still very much present (notably the shaky defense and an unsteady locker room), but the team served notice that it will not retreat. The battle back into contention is not an easy one, with Tampa Bay still nine games up in the loss column, but if the pitching can recover from its abysmal start, anything is possible.
The offense, such as it was, received a key hit from David Ortiz. With one on and one out in the fourth inning and the Sox trailing 1-0, Big Papi launched a ball toward the Big Monster. It hit in the area of the dreaded red line and Ortiz trucked into third base with an apparent triple. However, the umpires got together and reviewed the play. When they emerged, Ortiz was awarded home plate for his eighth HR of the season.
Bill Hall added an important RBI in the sixth inning, plating Adrian Beltre with a single. Beltre singled with two outs and advanced to second on a single by Jeremy Hermida. The three two-out hits proved to be the difference as Daniel Bard survived a shaky ninth for the save.
Buchholz raised his record to 5-3 with the win and lowered his ERA to 3.26.
The two-game series and home stand will conclude tonight when two of the best lefties in baseball toe the rubber. The Twins will send Francisco Liriano (4-3, 2.63 ERA) while the Red Sox will counter with Jon Lester (3-2, 3.91 ERA).
*JD Drew was in the leadoff spot in place of Marco Scutaro, who had a little soreness.
*Josh Beckett was placed on the 15-day Disabled List.
*Joe Mauer's steal of third was his first stolen base since last August.