BOSTON -- The triple play that wasn't would have been just what the Twins needed to get out of trouble. When the outs all disappeared, so did Minnesota's chances of avoiding a sweep in Boston.
Dustin Pedroia hit a three-run double as the Red Sox scored seven times in the seventh inning -- all of them after a triple play was taken off the board -- and Boston beat Minnesota 18-5 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a career-high four hits, and Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis and Sean Casey had three apiece to help Boston set season highs for hits (23) and runs. The Twins loaded the bases in the seventh and failed to score, but they trailed just 7-5 in the bottom half when they appeared to escape a jam on what was initially ruled a triple play.
"I know what the score ended up being, but the game wasn't played like that," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We're a pitcher away from that game going either way."
The Red Sox had runners on second and third when Jason Varitek hit a sinking liner to center and Denard Span slid for the ball, backhanding it and then holding up his glove as if he caught it. The base runners took off and, after the umpires belatedly signaled a catch, Span threw to second to double off Casey.
While the umpires conferred, official scorer Mike Petraglia announced that the play was an 8-4-5 triple play, "for now."
The call was reversed -- correctly, replays confirmed -- and irate Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out of the dugout for an argument that led to a quick ejection.
"I'm not going to tell you guys what I think," said Gardenhire, whose team had won 16 of 18 before coming to Fenway Park. "Every time I say what I say, I get in trouble."
Casey stayed at third and Varitek was credited with an RBI single that gave Boston an 8-5 lead. Craig Breslow relieved Boof Bonser and struck out Brandon Moss, but Julio Lugo walked to load the bases.
"I'm just glad he didn't catch it, and they were able to correct it," Varitek said. "It gave us an extra run when both teams were going back and forth. It just snowballed and exploded."
Ellsbury singled to drive in another run and, with Brian Bass pitching, Pedroia hit a double to left to clear the bases and extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Youkilis doubled and Ramirez followed with an RBI single to make it 14-5.
Kevin Cash hit a pinch-hit homer, Moss hit the first triple of his career and Youkilis homered in a four-run eighth to finish the scoring. The 18 runs were the most for the Red Sox since they scored 25 against Florida in 2003.
"It's Fenway at its best. You make mistakes here, they make you pay for it," Gardenhire said. "It was a good game for a while. Got out of hand."
Josh Beckett (9-5) allowed three runs in the first and followed it with four scoreless innings before being chased after two batters in the sixth. He allowed five earned runs and eight hits, giving him his first two-start winning streak since May 3-8.
- Youkilis committed an error on a pickoff attempt in the third inning, his first error since June 7 and his second as a first baseman since July 4, 2006.
- There were four World Series MVPs in the game: Hernandez (1997), Beckett (2003), Manny Ramirez (2004) and Mike Lowell (2007).
- Beckett retired Brian Buscher in the fourth on a looping fly to left-center when center fielder Ellsbury made the catch and slid through Ramirez's legs to avoid a collision.
- Gardenhire came out to argue fan interference on Ramirez's RBI double off the Green Monster in the fifth. He won the argument, but the umpires allowed Youkilis to score anyway.
- Both right fielders had trouble with the sun, allowing fly balls to drop.
- Red Sox 1B-OF Jeff Bailey was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game.
- Beckett's two strikeouts were the fewest for him since June 14 last year.