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Livan Hernandez won again, Craig Monroe contributed another big hit, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3 on Monday night to win the four-game series.
Manny Ramirez finally went deep, hitting career homer No. 498 in the first inning for the Red Sox. The two-run shot was his second home run in 20 games.
Hernandez (6-1) rebounded after a rough start to finish six innings for another quality outing. The Twins are 8-1 when he's on the mound.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz (2-3) didn't make it out of the fifth, done in by control problems and timely hits by the Twins — who took three games from the Red Sox. Minnesota has won nine of its last 12 games and scored 74 runs in the process.
The Twins have done it almost entirely with singles, speed and smart baserunning. Their 20 homers rank one ahead of Kansas City for the fewest in the majors, and they beat up Buchholz for seven runs in 4 1-3 innings with only one extra-base hit.
That came from Monroe, a two-run double in the decisive three-run fifth. Monroe, who hit two homers in Sunday's 9-8 win, has so far been a pleasantly productive part-time DH for the Twins. They got him from the Cubs for minor-league outfielder Doug Deeds.
Delmon Young followed Monroe with an RBI single to make it 7-3, and Buchholz walked off with his second straight disappointing performance.
Over his last two starts, Buchholz has surrendered 18 hits and 12 runs in just 8 1-3 innings. He walked five this time, twice putting Mauer on to lead off an inning and watching him come all the way around.
Hernandez, another unheralded acquisition during a hectic winter, has been a huge help for the first-place Twins. Minnesota has won all three of his starts this month by a combined 31-5 score, and he has allowed only five runs in 22 innings.
Taking an 0-2 record and a 12.38 ERA in two previous starts against Boston in his career, Hernandez was in trouble right away after a half-swing single by David Ortiz and the soaring homer by Ramirez that put Boston up 3-0.
Just about everything fell Minnesota's way in this series, good vibes no more evident than in the top of the seventh inning when Dustin Pedroia hit a routine line drive to right field straight at Cuddyer. He casually reached for it, when the ball popped out of his glove, bounced on the top of his cap, off the brim and back into the mitt. Cuddyer mouthed a "wow" and flashed a sheepish smile.
This program aired on May 13, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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