After another tough loss the Boston Red Sox will continue to look for answers when they host the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park in game three of a four-game set.
The Red Sox got out to a 5-1 lead early in Friday night's matchup, but let the lead slip away before surrendering the game entirely in extra innings.
Jamey Carroll's RBI single in the top of the 10th pushed the Twins ahead for good as Minnesota came away with the 6-5 victory. Both Carroll and Justin Morneau went 4-for-4 in the game while Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham each had a pair of RBI.
Jeff Gray got his sixth win out of the bullpen by pitching 1 1/3 innings without giving up a run and Jared Burton pitched a perfect 10th to secure his fourth save and the second straight win against the Red Sox for the Twins.
Boston ERA leader Felix Doubront couldn't take advantage of early run support and struggled through five innings in which he gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks. However, it was Vicente Padilla who took the loss after allowing a pair of hits and the go-ahead run in the 10th.
Carl Crawford was 3-for-5 with a three-run home run in the game and Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross each recorded a pair of hits as well for the Red Sox, who have lost three straight games after winning four in a row.
"We just couldn't find the bats when we needed them tonight,"Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "We'll come back out and get them tomorrow, just had some misses there."
Boston has the right man on the mound Saturday to get another winning streak going.
While perennial aces Jon Lester and Josh Beckett have been struggling, it's been Clay Buchholz who has stepped in as the calming force in the Red Sox rotation this season.
Buchholz' overall numbers may not look amazing at 9-3 with a 4.75 ERA, but that is largely due to the struggles he suffered through early in the season.
His ERA was once a lofty 7.84 back at the end of May, but since then he has pitched extremely well and driven that number back down. He has seven quality starts in his last nine outings, including a shutout back on June 7. Buchholz has been stellar over the past two months with a 2.40 ERA in June and a 2.45 ERA in July.
In his previous start, Buchholz lasted eight innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits to pick up his ninth win of the season in a 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.
That being said, it will be a different Buchholz the Twins will be seeing after they lit him up for five runs on 10 hits back on April 25. It is the only other start Buchholz has made against the Twins this season, a team he is 3-1 with a 5.56 ERA against in four previous career starts.
Opposing Buchholz for the Twins will be Cole De Vries.
The 27-year-old rookie has had a pretty good start to his major league career since he was brought up to replace Jason Marquis at the end of May.
In 10 starts, De Vries is 2-2 with a 3.98 ERA, although he has not factored in a decision since July 14 and hasn't recorded a win since June 30.
In his last start, De Vries lasted five innings while allowing five runs, four earned, and seven hits while striking out three. Despite the shaky performance, the Twins pulled out a 7-6 win over the White Sox after losing De Vries' previous five appearances.
De Vries has yet to make an appearance against Boston in his brief stint in the majors, but he does have a start against an AL East squad. De Vries allowed one run over six innings while striking out five in a game against Baltimore in mid-July.
De Vries was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota who signed with the Twins in 2006.
The Red Sox swept a three-game series against the Twins at Target Field in April and have won the season series in each season since 2006.