Twins' eighth-inning outburst tops Sox, 5-2

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Twins' eighth-inning outburst tops Sox, 5-2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

MINNEAPOLIS -- Late-inning heroics had almost become commonplace for the Red Sox, so when David Ortiz launched a game-tying homer to left-center in the top of the eighth Wednesday night, it seemed certain that another dramatic win was in the offing.

But this time, it was the other side pulling out a victory in their final at-bat.

Jim Thome and Danny Valancia cracked consecutive run-scoring doubles and Tsuyoshi Nishioka added an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to give the Minnesota Twins a 5-2 win, snapping the Red Sox four-game winning streak.

Alfredo Aceves, who relieved Jon Lester with one out in the eighth, faced four hitters and gave up three hits and an intentional walk.

Lester was saddled with his second straight loss. He walked five and two of those hitters would come around to score.

Thome's first-inning RBI single had given the Twins a 1-0 lead. Joe Mauer doubled home Ben Revere in the sixth to boost Minnesota's lead to 2-0.

The Sox cut the margin in half in the seventh on a walk to Mike Aviles, an error by Twins second baseman Matt Tolbert and a single by Marco Scutaro, who picked up his eighth hit in his last three games.

Ortiz's homer -- his third in the last six games -- tied it for the Sox before the Twins rallied in the bottom of the inning.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?