By BRIAN HALL Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gio Urshela’s three-run double in the fifth inning pushed Minnesota ahead and four relievers made the lead as the Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.
Urshela punched a 3-2 pitch from John Schreiber into the right-field corner, scoring all three runners who had walked.
Caleb Thielbar (3-2) earned the win in relief of starter Dylan Bundy. Thielbar pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings after Bundy had allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. There were runners on the corners with two outs when Thielbar entered and struck out pinch hitter Rob Refsnyder to end the inning.
“He comes in, in a really big moment, kind of moment that really swings the game in a big way,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That was huge and we start just handing the ball from one guy to the other. That was a pretty dominating performance by the bullpen. I don’t know what else to say. It was pretty fantastic to just kind of sit back and just watch them pitch.”
Thielbar, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax and Jorge López combined to allow just one baserunner in the final 4 1/3 innings. López finished for his 23rd save, fourth with Minnesota.
The Twins pulled within 1 1/2 games of idle Cleveland in the AL Central.
“There’s a lot of ups and downs during the season, especially with us,” Urshela said. “We’ve been in first place and then second place. We’re just trying to keep focused every day we come to the stadium. Now, we’re playing good.”
Brayan Bello (0-4) surrendered three runs in four-plus innings. His day was done after walking Arraez and Correa to start the fifth.
“I was pretty upset because I was controlling the game,” Bello said. “I was in the game and I was getting outs and stuff and those two walks got me out of my game. I felt I was doing well and I was going along with the game real well, it just got me.”
The Red Sox lost for the sixth time in eight games. They started the day seven games back of the final wild-card spot in the AL.
Boston made a few mental mistakes, including Alex Verdugo not scoring from third on a flyout and Rafael Devers losing track of the outs in the third.
“When people watch that, it’s our team and we haven’t been good at it baserunning-wise, defensively, mental lapses and it’s something that we keep preaching, we keep talking,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “At one point, we’ve got to get it right. But from my point, as a manager, the guy that is running this team, yeah, I take a lot of pride in this and we’re not doing a good job.”
Verdugo and Reese McGuire had RBI doubles against Bundy. In his second game back from the injured list, Trevor Story had three hits and a walk for Boston.
Duran unleashed a 103.4 MPH fastball, the fastest recorded pitch of his career and the fastest for a Twins player in the Statcast era. He added a 100.8 MPH “splinker” – his unique offering that is a mix of splitter and sinker. It’s the first off-speed pitch to reach triple digits since Statcast started tracking in 2015.
“That pumps you up like very few things I’ve ever seen from a pitcher,” Baldelli said.
Boston recalled RHP Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester and selected the contract of RHP Zack Kelly from Triple-A. Kelly made his major league debut with a scoreless inning and two strikeouts. The Red Sox designated LHP Austin Davis and RHP Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment.
Minnesota recalled LHP Jovani Moran from Triple-A St. Paul and optioned LHP Devin Smeltzer to Triple-A.
Red Sox: RHP Tanner Houck (lower back inflammation) is scheduled to throw live batting practice for Worcester on Tuesday. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled for a bullpen session Tuesday at Fenway Park. … 1B Eric Hosmer (low back inflammation) was scheduled to start swinging a bat Monday, doing soft toss and tee work, and could advance to a rehab game later in the week.
Twins: 2B Jorge Polanco missed his second straight game as he deals with a knee injury. Baldelli said Polanco’s knee hasn’t shown much improvement. The injury doesn’t bother Polanco running but is an issue when hitting. … RHP Tyler Mahle (right shoulder inflammation) has thrown bullpen sessions and is progressing to a return to the rotation later this week. … President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said Kenta Maeda (elbow ligament replacement surgery) is unlikely to return this season in an update on several injured players.
RHP Kutter Crawford (3-5, 5.30 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Red Sox on Tuesday. Minnesota will start RHP Chris Archer (2-7, 4.34).