June 14: Boston 4, Minnesota 3
This was the Twins best shot to take a game in the series. Bert Blyleven was good for six innings before turning it over to the bullpen with the Twins trailing 1-2. Singles from Mickey Vernon and Joe Mauer plus a Jimmie Foxx error plated the tying run for Minnesota in the top of the eighth.
Minnesota turned to bullpen ace Joe Nathan in the bottom of the eighth, but Foxx made up for his error and connected for a solo homer to give Boston a one-run lead. Boston then turned to their bullpen ace, Jonathan Papelbon to preserve the win in the top of the ninth, but he also was not up to the task. Chuck Knoblauch, Tony Oliva, and Vernon all singled to tie it up again.
Rick Aguilera came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth but didn’t stay long after John Valentin led off with a walk-off ya-ya.
R H BB MN 000 100 011 - 3 10 4 BOS 020 000 011 - 4 8 3 HR: N. Garciaparra (7), J. Foxx (10), J. Valentin (1) starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Blyleven 6.0 2 2 1 3 3 S. Wood 8.0 2 1 0 4 4 MN 33-31, BOS 42-22
June 15: Boston 7, Minnesota 1
Dead-ball era starter Jim Shaw continues to struggle for Minnesota. He’s walking 6.6 per nine innings and striking out only 2.2. He had no idea where his pitches were going in this one and walked five batters in the first inning. His best attribute is limiting homers, but Manny Ramirez launched one off of him in this disaster start.
Lefty Grove had no such problems against the Twins lineup and limited them to just three hits and two walks in his seven innings of work.
R H BB MN 010 000 000 - 1 4 2 BOX 204 010 00x - 7 10 7 HR: M. Ramirez (4) starters IP R ER HR BB SO J. Shaw 2.2 6 6 1 5 0 L. Grove 7.0 1 1 0 2 3 MN 33-32, BOS 43-22
June 16: Boston 5, Minnesota 2
It was a full house for this one and the crowd was buzzing at the most exciting pitcher match-up in the league: Walter Johnson vs. Pedro Martinez. Martinez came into the game having not allowed a single earned run in his last five starts, and buzz-sawed through the Minnesota lineup for the first eight innings. He allowed no runs, one hit, and one walk in that span and sent hitter after hitter walking back to the dugout shaking his head.
The Big Train was good all day except for when he temporarily lost his command in the fourth inning. After Carl Yastrzemski led off with a single, Johnson walked Ted Williams, hit Nomar Garciaparra, and walked Manny Ramirez to force in a run. With the bases still loaded, Johnson knew he had to throw strikes, and grooved one in for Jimme Foxx, who nailed it for a three-run triple. Johnson retired the next three and was back to himself the rest of the way, but the damage was done.
Boston skipper Joe Cronin had a tough call to make on whether or not he should send Pedro back out for the ninth. He couldn’t resist giving his ace a shot for the shut-out. Martinez gave up a lead-off single, but then retired the next two Twins and was one out away from the shutout and an incredible six straight starts with no earned runs. Tony Oliva spoiled it for him with a towering homer, and out came Pedro to a rousing standing ovation from the Fenway rooters. The incredible Pedro’s streak of not allowing an earned run was over at 46 innings, but Boston was back in charge in the Original Division. With second-place Baltimore getting swept by Detroit, the Red Sox extended their lead to five games.
R H BB MN 000 000 002 - 2 3 1 BOS 000 500 00x - 5 5 4 HR: T. Oliva (7) starters IP R ER HR BB SO W. Johnson 8.0 5 5 0 4 1 P. Martinez 8.2 2 2 1 1 4 MN 33-33, BOS 44-22