So much for small ball. Craig Monroe went 2-for-4 with two of light-hitting Minnesota's three home runs and four RBIs, and the Twins hung on for a 9-8 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.
Joe Nathan gave up two runs in the ninth, but won a showdown with pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez by getting him to ground out to shortstop with the tying run on second base to pick up his 12th save in as many chances.
The Twins, who entered with a major league-low 17 homers, had yet to hit more than one in a game before Sunday's binge. Monroe had his third career multihomer game and Adam Everett also went deep during an atypically brutal start for Tim Wakefield (3-2) in the Metrodome.
Wakefield's knuckleball always seems to bite a little bit harder in the Dome, with the 41-year-old entering 7-3 with a 3.95 ERA in his career under the puffy white roof.
But he gave up seven runs — six earned — on seven hits in just 2 2-3 innings on Sunday, the earliest he's been knocked out of a start since June 20, 1997, at Detroit, when he lasted just 2 1-3 innings.
Wakefield twice lasted only 2 innings since, but one was a tuneup before the playoffs started on Sept. 28, 2003. The other was at Milwaukee on June 6, 2003, when he was hit by a pitch on the ankle in the third inning and taken out of the game.
It had to be especially disappointing for Wakefield coming off his last start, when he teamed with Mike Timlin to become the first pair of pitchers over 40 in baseball's modern era to combine for a shutout in a win over the Tigers last week.
After breezing through the first inning, Wakefield gave up a three-run homer to Monroe and a two-run shot to Everett that just barely got over Jacoby Ellsbury's glove and fell into the left-field seats to make it 5-0. It was Everett's first homer since June 2 and the first by a Twins shortstop since Jason Bartlett hit one on Aug. 27.
The Red Sox chipped away at Nick Blackburn (3-2), getting three runs in the fourth and then a two-run homer from Coco Crisp — his second in as many days — off Matt Guerrier in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-6.
Monroe's solo homer off Timlin in the seventh made it 9-6, but the normally unhittable Nathan gave up an RBI single to J.D. Drew that made it 9-7. Crisp bounced a liner off Nathan's glove to score another run and force manager Terry Francona to bring in Ramirez, who was resting a sore hamstring. Ramirez came into the at-bat 0-for-6 with five strikeouts in his career against Nathan.
Crisp had three RBIs for Boston, but was stranded at second base when Ramirez grounded out.
This program aired on May 12, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.