BOSTON (AP) — Mookie Betts homered on the first two pitches he saw, collecting four hits and five RBIs in all, and Eduardo Rodriguez allowed only five singles in seven shutout innings Wednesday night to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2.
The Red Sox won for the 12th time in 17 games and remained 5½ games back in the race for the AL’s second wild-card spot. The AL Central-leading Twins, who had won seven of eight, fell to 5½ games ahead of second-place Cleveland in the division.
Betts homered into the first row of the Green Monster seats on the first pitch of the game from José Berríos (11-8), then sent one out of the ballpark with two on in the second to make it 4-0. Betts added a single down the third base line in the fourth — after taking a pitch — and hit an RBI single in the sixth, also on the second pitch of the at-bat.
He came up again in the eighth and made his only out, on a line drive back at the mound that pitcher Brusdar Graterol caught before it hit him in the gut.
Following a 47-minute rain delay before the first pitch, Rodriguez (17-5) struck out eight while walking four and hitting a batter to add to what was already a career high in wins. The Red Sox are 12-1 when he starts at Fenway Park, and 10-2 in his last 12 starts overall.
Ryan Brasier relieved Rodriguez to start the eighth and immediately gave up a single to Nelson Cruz and a two-run homer to Eddie Rosario. Minnesota put two on with one out in the ninth against Darwinzon Hernandez before Brandon Workman got a game-ending 1-4-3 double play for his 11th save.
Berríos pitched five-plus innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out six. It was the second-most runs he’s allowed this season.
PLAYING BY THE SEAT OF THEIR PANTS
Twins catcher Willians Astudillo threw out Mitch Moreland from one knee on a dribbler in front of the plate in the second inning.
Berríos did even better, diving to stop Andrew Benintendi’s checked-swing nubber down the third base line in the fifth, and throwing from one knee as he fell away from the play. He wound up flat on his back before third baseman Miguel Sanó came over to congratulate him, putting his arm around the pitcher as they walked off the field together.
The Red Sox had 21 pitchers on the roster for the game, with 17 of them in the bullpen in case they were needed. They used five pitchers in all.
“We’re going winter ball style,” manager Alex Cora said. “Obviously, it’s not perfect, but our starters are not giving us enough. We need matchups. We need arms.”
Major League Baseball allows teams to expand their rosters as of Sept. 1, and Boston’s Triple-A team finished its season on Tuesday night. The rules are changing in 2020 to allow for more limited call-ups, but for now, Cora said, “The rules are the rules.”
“Next year you can’t do that,” he said. “It’s probably not the first time it’s happened in the game.”
Twins: RHP Sam Dyson (biceps soreness) has returned to the Twin Cities. He was on the 10-day injured list in August for the same problem. INF Marwin Gonzalez (abdomen) is not yet ready to return, manager Rocco Baldelli said. Gonzalez has not played since Aug. 27. Max Kepler (upper chest soreness) left in the seventh.
Red Sox: INF Michael Chavis (left shoulder sprain), on the IL since Aug. 12, was scheduled to swing a bat.
Plate umpire Ramon DeJesus took a pitch off his left hand with one out in the top of the ninth, sending his pitch counter flying. He called for a trainer, but stayed in the game. Meanwhile, second base umpire CB Bucknor had gone to the umpire’s room to put on a chest protector and the game resumed without him.
He missed the rest of that at-bat but returned for the next one.
Twins: LHP Martín Pérez (9-6) pitches the series finale Thursday night.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0) starts for the Red Sox.
(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)