Game 96 Recap: Red Sox 8, Twins 7

The Red Sox won yesterday, but not before extracting every bit of drama from their 8-7 triumph over the Twins. I guess this is how it’s going to be from here on out: The Sox win their fair share of games while inducing more than their fair share of panic, and we’ll tweet about it. I suppose I’ll take it, but the degree to which the Sox play up or down to their opponents’ levels is not comforting when the opponent is the worst team in the AL.

Top Play (WPA): Please Hanley, keep hurtin’ them. In the bottom of the third inning, with the Sox trailing 2-0, Han-Ram launched his fifth home run in as many games, a three-run shot to put Boston ahead for good. I’ll admit to being stupefied that Ramirez has bounced back from his considerable May/June struggles at the plate, and I don’t know if he can keep it up, but it’s a sight to behold right now, and a phenomenon that is doing its damndest to keep the Sox afloat.

Bottom Play (WPA): In the top of the second inning, someone named Juan Centano doubled to center field to score people named Max Kepler (who had reached base on a Xander Bogaerts error, sad) and Eddie Rosario, putting the Twins up 2-0. All of these people are real and not, in fact, generically named replicants created to fill out a la the franchise mode in a video game. Obligatory Pokémon reference: The Twins need to get some candies and evolve those dudes, yo.

Key Moment: Miguel Sano’s fielding error with two outs in the bottom of the fifth — he was unable to even slow down an Aaron Hill grounder that went through him — allowed a run to score, which was bad enough for Minnesota, but the real damage was done by the next batter. That batter was Travis Shaw, and he hit a three-run homer to give the Sox the eight runs they’d need to hold onto the game with their leaky bullpen.

Trend to watch: I’m gonna ignore the Twins’ furious comeback, which exposed (yet again) the Sox’ considerable problems in holding leads, because you know that. Let’s stick with Hanley the Hot, who could really help the Sox if he averaged a home run per game for the rest of the year, as he has for the last five contests. I see no reason he can’t keep it up through October, except that no one has ever done anything like that, not even Sammy Sosa. If you will it, it is no dream.

Coming next: The Tigers come to town for a three-game set starting tonight. Red Sox legend Drew Pomeranz will face Detroit newcomer Justin Verlander in game one, though I may have some of the details wrong. Expect the Sox to play exactly to Detroit’s level throughout the entire series and drive us all nuts. Amen.

Photo by Winslow Towson/USA Today Sports Images

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