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Minnesota at Boston

Scoreboard
Minnesota (78-81) «1110110005121
Boston (94-65)2000100104121

Twins prevent Red Sox from clinching AL East title

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Josh Beckett is done for the regular season, and it's up to his Boston Red Sox teammates to finish things up in the AL East race.

Michael Cuddyer and Garrett Jones homered off the 20-game winner in his last start before the playoffs, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 5-4 victory over Boston on Thursday and preventing the Red Sox from closing in on a division title.

"We still have some things we want to do," Beckett (20-7) said after losing for the first time in five starts since August. "I don't think I will be a part of it, except with my pompons."

Boston has already clinched a playoff berth, but it needs two more wins -- or Yankees losses -- to win its first AL East title since 1995. The Red Sox had their first chance on Thursday, but the loss, combined with the Yankees' 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay, cut their lead in the AL East to two games and left their magic number at two.

"I had so much going on in our game, I had to worry about our game," said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who homered in the eighth to cut the deficit to one run but struck out with the bases loaded for the second out in the ninth. "We put ourselves in position to win. Personally, I didn't get it done."

Boston's David Ortiz was 4-for-4, including his 34th homer and 51st double. He walked in the ninth to reach safely in his ninth consecutive plate appearance.

Beckett allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings, striking out six. He had a throwing error on a foolhardy cutoff of a throw to the plate in the fifth when Torii Hunter singled to score Nick Punto and make it 4-2.

The only 20-game winner in the majors, so far, in two seasons, Beckett is a top contender for the AL Cy Young award.

"I'd be lying if I sat here and said I didn't think about that," he said. "I had a good year, but there are some other guys that have had good years, too."

Boof Bonser (8-12) allowed three runs and six hits and two walks, striking out two in five innings to reach a career-high in victories. Joe Nathan got four outs for his 36th save.

"I think our guys enjoyed this game," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team needs to win out to avoid its first losing season since 2000. "We haven't had much to smile about."

The Red Sox threatened in the eighth and again in the ninth. They cut the lead to 5-4 in the eighth on Varitek's homer and put runners on first and third before Nathan came on and got Dustin Pedroia to pop up in a brief but sudden rainstorm. With the bases loaded he struck out Varitek and pinch-hitter Kevin Youkilis to end the game.

"That's our playoff," Hunter said. "That was very exciting."

Jason Bartlett had three hits for the Twins.

Hideki Okajima pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out two, in his first appearance since Sept. 14 as the Red Sox try to bring him back from a tired arm.

"It didn't look like there was a ton of rust," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "So we can get him out there again."

The Twins scored a run in each of the first three innings. They added another in the fifth when Punto led off with a double, and two outs later Hunter bounced one up the middle that second baseman Pedroia kept out of center field with a diving stop.

He got up and fired home, but Beckett cut off the throw between the mound and the plate, then turned and threw wild past Varitek. Punto scored easily, and Hunter advanced to second, but Beckett retired Justin Morneau on a fly ball to center.

Boston made it 4-3 on Ortiz's homer in the bottom half, but Jones made it a two-run game in the sixth.

Notes

  • Beckett was 9-5 with a 4.17 ERA at home and 11-2 with a 2.18 ERA on the road.
  • Former Red Sox INF Johnny Pesky celebrated his 88th birthday.
  • Boston CF Coco Crisp was out of the lineup with what appeared to be a virus.
  • Ortiz's 51 doubles are fourth-most in Red Sox history. It was his 50th as a DH, tying the major-league record set by Edgar Martinez in 1995.
  • Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury left the game after four innings because of muscle cramps in his right calf.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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David Ortiz goes 4-for-4 with one long ball (34), but it comes in a losing effort for the Red Sox. (AP)
David Ortiz goes 4-for-4 with one long ball (34), but it comes in a losing effort for the Red Sox. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

M. Cuddyer
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Boston

D. Ortiz
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Minnesota Twins
Jason Bartlett, SS5230011 .269
Jason Kubel, LF4011003 .268
Torii Hunter, CF3012001 .289
Justin Morneau, DH4010012 .275
Michael Cuddyer, RF4121011 .278
Garrett Jones, 1B4121021 .211
Matt LeCroy, C4000032 .143
Brian Buscher, 3B3010000 .250
    Luis Rodriguez, 3B1000000 .225
Nick Punto, 2B4110021 .212
Totals365125010  
Batting
2B - Jason Bartlett (20, Beckett), Nick Punto (18, Beckett)
3B - Jason Kubel (2, Beckett)
HR - Michael Cuddyer (16, Beckett), Garrett Jones (2, Beckett)
SF - Torii Hunter (5)
RBI - Jason Kubel (65), Torii Hunter 2 (106), Michael Cuddyer (81), Garrett Jones (4)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter (46)
SB - Jason Bartlett (23, 2nd base off Corey/Varitek), Michael Cuddyer (5, 2nd base off Okajima/Varitek), Brian Buscher (1, 2nd base off Beckett/Varitek)
CS - Torii Hunter (9, 2nd base by Beckett/Varitek)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Buscher-Punto-G. Jones, Punto-Bartlett-G. Jones
E - Matt LeCroy (1, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser (W,8-12) 5633221 5.10
Juan Rincon (H,14) 1.1100000 5.13
Glen Perkins0100000 3.29
Matt Guerrier (H,14) 1.1311021 2.28
Joe Nathan (S,36) 1.1100220 1.91
IBB - Drew by Joe Nathan
HBP - Varitek (by Boof Bonser)
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 97-62, Juan Rincon 19-11, Glen Perkins 2-2, Matt Guerrier 20-14, Joe Nathan 28-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 8-5, Juan Rincon 2-2, Matt Guerrier 1-0, Joe Nathan 1-1
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 24, Juan Rincon 5, Glen Perkins 1, Matt Guerrier 6, Joe Nathan 7
Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5020002 .318
Manny Ramirez, LF4110002 .297
    Brandon Moss, PR-LF1010000 .280
David Ortiz, DH4242100 .330
    Royce Clayton, PR-DH0000000 .253
Mike Lowell, 3B5000003 .324
J.D. Drew, RF-CF3011210 .266
Jason Varitek, C3111113 .256
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF2000012 .352
    Bobby Kielty, RF2000010 .226
   a- Kevin Youkilis, PH1000013 .286
Eric Hinske, 1B4010013 .205
Julio Lugo, SS4010000 .238
Totals38412446  
a-struck out for Kielty in the 9th
Batting
2B - Brandon Moss (2, Nathan), David Ortiz (51, Bonser)
HR - David Ortiz (34, Bonser), Jason Varitek (16, Guerrier)
RBI - David Ortiz 2 (116), J.D. Drew (60), Jason Varitek (67)
2-OUT RBI - J.D. Drew (21)
SB - Dustin Pedroia (7, 2nd base off Bonser/LeCroy), J.D. Drew (4, 2nd base off Bonser/LeCroy), Julio Lugo (31, 2nd base off Nathan/LeCroy)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Varitek-Lugo, Lugo-Hinske
E - Josh Beckett (2, Throwing)
Boston Red Sox
Josh Beckett (L,20-7) 61055062 3.27
Bryan Corey 1100010 1.93
Hideki Okajima 1100020 2.25
Manny Delcarmen 1000010 2.09
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 99-65, Bryan Corey 9-8, Hideki Okajima 14-9, Manny Delcarmen 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 3-7, Bryan Corey 1-1, Manny Delcarmen 2-0
Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 26, Bryan Corey 4, Hideki Okajima 4, Manny Delcarmen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36743
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Larry Poncino, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Rob Drake