One night after putting up nine runs, the Twins' offense returned to being the unit that we know and. . .well, not necessarily love, but expect.
Minnesota could manage just three hits on Saturday afternoon, as Clay Buchholz and four Red Sox relievers combined to shut the Twins down, taking the second game of the four-game set by a score of 4-0.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to Jed Lowrie's RBI single off of Twins' starter Brian Duensing (2-2, 3.00 ERA). Then, while the Twins were warming up for the top of the third inning, the skies opened up in Boston and the game was delayed for a little more than two hours. When the game resumed, Duensing had been lifted for the returning Kevin Slowey. The Red Sox then added to their lead in the bottom of the third, when Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground rule double to right field, and Kevin Youkilis brought him home with a single.
That was the only run that Slowey would allow, as he pitched 4.1 innings in his return. Glen Perkins got the last two outs of the seventh inning, and Alex Burnett came in to pitch the eighth. Burnett got the first two outs of the eighth in short order, but then gave up consecutive singles to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Carl Crawford, and then walked J.D. Drew to load the bases. Jacoby Ellsbury then singled to center, and the Red Sox found themselves with a 4-0 lead.
Clay Buchholz (3-3, 4.19 ERA), unlike Duensing, took the mound again after the rain delay, and wound up pitching five solid innings while allowing only two hits. Rich Hill, Matt Albers, and Daniel Bard each pitched a scoreless inning after that, with only Albers allowing a hit, and Jonathan Papelbon came in and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Two players were responsible for all three of the Twins hits. Justin Morneau beat out an infield single in the top of the first, and Michael Cuddyer got the other two Minnesota hits, a single to left-center in the fourth and a single to center in the seventh. The Twins did not even have a runner reach second base on the afternoon.
The same two teams will get together again on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch from Fenway Park scheduled for 12:35 PM Central time. The pitching match-up should be a good one, as Carl Pavano (2-3, 5.84 ERA) will head to the mound for the Twins, and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-3, 4.33 ERA) will take the ball for the Red Sox.