Gio Urshela delivers big hit as Twins oust Red Sox, win fourth straight game
In the final 4 1/3 innings of the game, the Red Sox collected just one hit off four Twins relievers.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gio Urshela reached out, got the end of his bat to the far edge of the strike zone and sliced a double to the opposite field. As the ball made its way toward the right-field corner, in came Luis Arraez, in came Carlos Correa and in came Jose Miranda.
Urshela’s bases-clearing hit proved the difference in the Minnesota Twins’ 4-2 win — their fourth straight — over the Red Sox in the series opener on Monday night at Target Field. The third baseman’s clutch moment was set up by a series of three walks earlier in the inning — two of them on four straight pitches — before he worked a 3-2 count of his own.
“I’m just trying to stay short because his angle might be a little difficult to hit,” Urshela said of Red Sox reliever John Schreiber. “He throws sinkers and sliders so just trying to be in front of the ball in that situation with 3-2 and the bases loaded. Just trying to put the ball in play, so that’s what I did.”
It was yet another time this season where Urshela has shown the ability to thrive in big moments. That, manager Rocco Baldelli said, is a credit to “internally kind of who he is.”
“He almost settles in even better when there’s fans on their feet, big moment, there’s people on base,” Baldelli said. “He knows what he’s trying to do. I think he really does simplify things real easily. That’s a really challenging thing to do.”
Urshela’s hit wiped away what had been a one-run deficit and turned it into a two-run lead. The Twins (66-61) had been trailing since two innings earlier when the Red Sox collected three hits off starter Dylan Bundy to produce the first run of the game. Immediately after, Max Kepler made a diving grab to save a run.
The Red Sox (62-67) scored another run in the fourth inning that the Twins responded to in the bottom of the frame when Jake Cave’s sacrifice fly brought home Miranda. The Red Sox forced Bundy out of the game in the fifth inning after a night in which he was contending with baserunners — often multiple — during the entirety of his outing.
“Seemed like there was runners on base all night. Whether it was a hard hit, or a dink hit, or an executed pitch and they get a hit, you just tip the cap,” Bundy said. “And then to have a couple more of those, it really gets hard to keep taking the hat off. Eventually you’ve just got to bear down. That last out, I was really trying to get that last out, it just didn’t work out.”
But what followed Bundy was nearly all zeroes all around from four different Twins relievers, each of whom threw at least an inning. In the final 4 1/3 innings of the game, the Red Sox collected just one hit off a group of relievers that included Caleb Thielbar, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax and Jorge López. Duran, in the process, threw a splinker that clocked in a 100.8 miles per hour, the first offspeed pitch ever thrown over 100 mph in Major League Baseball history.
“It’s defense. It’s offense. It’s pitching. Starting pitching. It’s bullpen, closing out games, shutting the door,” Bundy said of the Twins’ recent success. “It’s everything combined. The last four, we’ve seen that.”
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