Minnesota Twins’ bullpen comes through to take opener in Boston

Randy Dobnak of the Minnesota Twins walks to the dugout. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Randy Dobnak of the Minnesota Twins walks to the dugout. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Twins used their bullpen to perfection on Tuesday night as they held on for a late-season win over the Boston Red Sox.

If someone had told you that the Minnesota Twins would use their bullpen for a full game, you would probably assume that game wasn’t going to well.

With the current state of the Twins bullpen, Rocco Baldelli‘s decision to push Jose Berrios back a day by using the opener strategy couldn’t have inspired confidence among fans, but thanks to a strong night from several relievers, the Twins would pick up a 6-5 victory in Tuesday’s series opener with the Boston Red Sox.

The Twins night would start with the right-arm of Randy Dobnak, who made the start by picking up a pair of strikeouts in the first inning. From there, it would be Lewis Thorpe who would carry the bulk of the innings and turn in a respectable night, going 3 1/3 innings and limiting his damage.

While the Twins would get off to a great start on the mound, they would help lessen the strain by building a big lead. Miguel Sano led off the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning and Jake Cave would add a two-out, two-RBI triple in the top of the third to jump out 3-0.

The Twins would flex their muscle in the top of the fifth against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello as Nelson Cruz would go to dead center for his 35th home run of the season. Sano wouldn’t be outdone by the veteran, however, as he unleashed a 452-foot moonshot just underneath the Fenway Park scoreboard for his 27th home run of the year to build a 6-0 lead.

Thorpe would run out of gas in the bottom half of that inning, allowing a RBI groundout to Brock Holt, paving the way for Trevor May. The right-hander would face Rafael Devers, who would take him deep around Pesky’s Pole to put Boston right back into the game at 6-4.

The bullpen would get holds from Tyler Duffey and Sam Dyson in the sixth and seventh innings, but Taylor Rogers would come in with two outs in the eighth to allow Andrew Benintendi‘s 13th home run of the season to make things tense at 6-5.

However, Rogers would buckle down after allowing a leadoff single in the ninth inning and get the Red Sox in order to preserve the victory.

The win proved to be another big one down the stretch as the Cleveland Indians fell in a back-and-forth battle with the Chicago White Sox to extend the Twins’ lead in the American League Central to 6 1/2 games with 25 remaining.

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The Twins are also 7-1 on their current road trip and will hope that an extra day of rest will help Berrios (11-7, 3.57 ERA) build off his last start in Chicago. He’ll be opposed by Eduardo Rodriguez (16-5, 3.97 ERA), who picked up a win over the Twins on June 19 by striking out nine batters (but allowing four runs) in seven innings. Wednesday’s game is slated for a 6:05 CT first pitch.