Published May 03, 2016
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Trevor Plouffe's three-run homer and 7 2/3 strong innings from Ricky Nolasco carried the Minnesota Twins to another win, a 7-2 Memorial Day triumph over the Boston Red Sox.
Nolasco (5-1) won his fifth straight start and earned career victory No. 100 with his best and longest outing of the season. The right-hander held the Red Sox to a pair of runs on seven hits and fanned five without a walk.
"That was good to go deep in the game against, obviously, not a fun lineup to face -- they can change things pretty quickly," Nolasco said of the Red Sox. "I was just trying to be a little more efficient."
Plouffe's blast capped a six-run second inning against Joe Kelly and helped the surprising Twins collect their fifth win in six games. The homer was one of 16 Minnesota hits, with Eduardo Escobar finishing 3-for-4 and both Eduardo Nunez and Eddie Rosario going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Kelly (1-4), meanwhile, had his winless stretch lengthened to eight starts after being pasted for seven runs and eight hits in only 1 2/3 innings.
Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts and Mike Napoli had two hits each for Boston, with Hanley Ramirez recording an RBI single in defeat.
After manufacturing a run in the first inning on Brian Dozier's leadoff double and a sacrifice fly from Joe Mauer, the Twins sent 12 to the plate while battering Kelly around in the second.
Escobar began the big inning with a single and hustled home from first on Nunez's double down the left-field line for a 2-0 lead. Rosario followed with an RBI base hit and took third on Aaron Hicks' single before coming home on a Torii Hunter groundout.
Kelly then walked Mauer to extend the frame for Plouffe, who ended an eight- pitch at-bat by lining a slider into the left-field seats to extend the margin to 7-0.
"I knew they were going to come out swinging," said Kelly of the Twins. "They were right on the heater every time."
Boston did have an answer in the third, as singles by Blake Swihart and Pedroia put two in scoring position after Betts advanced both with a groundout. After David Ortiz plated Swihart with a chopper to first, Ramirez singled to right to drive in Pedroia.
The Red Sox didn't do a thing over the remainder of Nolasco's stint, however. The veteran retired 15 consecutive hitters following Ramirez's RBI single, a streak finally broken when Betts doubled on his final pitch in the eighth.
"He just got locked in," Twins manager Paul Molitor remarked.
Plouffe, Hicks and Kurt Suzuki also had two hits each for the Twins ... Minnesota improved to 16-6 in May, its most wins in a single month since notching going 16-13 in July of 2011 ... The Twins have now scored first in eight straight games and moved to 19-6 on the season when recording the initial run ... Boston's Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup. The third baseman did not start the team's last five games due to a bruised left foot ... Kelly entered Monday's matchup having held opposing hitters to a .122 average (5-for-41) in day games this season.