The Boston Red Sox are starting to look like their old selves in Minnesota.
Beckett struck out five and allowed two runs in six sharp innings and Ortiz homered with three RBIs to lead the Red Sox to an 11-2 romp over the Twins on Tuesday night.
Beckett (2-2) allowed two runs and five hits and Mike Aviles went 4 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs for the Red Sox, who had no trouble with this big lead after squandering a nine-run advantage in a loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday.
Beckett jawed with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson after a rough first inning, but the fiery Texan finished his evening by striking out the side in the sixth.
“He was just missing with some pitches and got a little frustrated, possibly, but it really turned up his competitive fluids,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “He wasn’t going to be denied the victory. He was terrific.”
Beckett had a heck of a time in the first inning, needing 37 pitches to grind through it. He walked three straight hitters, including Justin Morneau with the bases loaded, to make it 3-1.
Beckett gave several long looks toward Johnson on a couple of close pitches to Josh Willingham and Danny Valencia. After getting Valencia to ground out to end the inning, Beckett let out a scream as he walked off the mound and yelled “That’s (expletive) five outs!” in Johnson’s direction. As Johnson started to walk toward Beckett, Valentine briefly left the dugout to diffuse the situation.
“I was kind of … trying to add to the noise just in case any magic words came out it wouldn’t necessarily be attributed to Josh,” Valentine said. “He was into it. I haven’t seen Josh like that. It really seemed like this was a game he really wanted.”
The only trouble Beckett gave the rest of the way was to the Twins offense. Willingham doubled home Jamey Carroll in the fifth, but that was all Minnesota could muster.
Beckett quickly squashed any line of questions surrounding Johnson.
“Sometimes I think you can waste too much energy with that stuff,” Beckett said of pitching with emotion. “Today apparently it helped our guys though because they scored 11 runs.”
Ortiz’s monster, two-run shot in the third inning landed on the stairway in right field—an estimated 429 feet—to make it 5-1. It was the continuation of an incredible start for the 36-year-old slugger, who is hitting .444 with three homers and 15 RBIs. His 28 hits are a career-high for April.
“I didn’t learn how to hit yesterday,” Ortiz said with a smile. “I’ve been doing this for years. Just taking what they give you.”
The Red Sox led the Yankees 9-0 after five innings on Saturday, but their beleaguered bullpen gave it all back and then some, including consecutive seven-run frames in a loss that Valentine termed rock bottom.
“We had the one at home and we let it get away,” Valentine said. “I don’t think that’s going to be allowed again.”
They have rebounded with two strong performances in Minnesota, which has lost four straight and is sinking plenty fast itself.
Nick Blackburn left his previous start in the sixth inning with stiffness in his right shoulder and was skipped the next time through the rotation. He gave up three runs and five hits in the first and needed 71 pitches to get through three innings.
Blackburn (0-2) gave up five runs and eight hits and Matt Maloney didn’t fare any better, getting tagged for five runs and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings.
Willingham had two hits and an RBI for Minnesota.
“Our starters have to do a better job of getting deeper into the games, and we’ve got to get the ball out of those bullpen guys’ hands or they’re all not going to make it through this year,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
NOTES: OF Carl Crawford flew from Ft. Myers, Fla., to Boston for an examination on his strained left elbow. Valentine said Crawford wants to get a second opinion and it would remain a concern until he was deemed 100 percent. … The Twins placed INF Tsuyoshi Nishioka on the minor league DL with a high ankle sprain. GM Terry Ryan said Nishioka could miss 10 days with the injury. … The Twins planned to call up OF Ben Revere from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday to replace Willingham, who is taking three days of paternity leave while his wife has the couple’s third child. … The Red Sox will send struggling RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 9.00 ERA) to the mound to go for the series sweep against Minnesota’s RHP Liam Hendriks (0-0, 3.86 ERA) on Wednesday. Buchholz gave up six earned runs and five home runs in a loss to the Yankees last week.
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