Not even freezing weather and snow showers could cool down Rafael Devers and the Boston Red Sox in Tuesday afternoon’s series opener with the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
The 24-year-old Devers homered for the fourth consecutive game in the ninth inning to seal a 4-2 victory over the Twins as the American League East leading Red Sox extended their win streak to seven.
Devers, who hit a Jorge Alcala fastball an estimated 404 feet over the bleachers and into the plaza in right field, became just the third Red Sox to hit homers in four straight games before turning 25, joining a pair of baseball icons — Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
The 33-degree temperature was the second coldest at the start of a game in Red Sox history. The coldest was 32 degrees on April 17, 1979, at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland when Boston was one-hit by Rick Waits in a 3-0 loss.
“It was cold man,” said Red Sox starter Martin Perez. “I (couldn’t) feel my fingers in the first inning.”
“That was tough today. But the guys were talking that actually the conditions felt better than the first few games,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “It didn’t feel that way. I don’t know what they were talking about, but you’ve got to trust them.”
Especially when they’ve won seven in a row, the longest win streak for the Red Sox since a 10-gamer from July 2-12 in 2018.
The good news for both teams is the temperature is supposed to warm up all the way above 40 for Wednesday’s doubleheader at Target Field.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 1.46 ERA) will start the first seven-inning game for the Red Sox, opposed by right-hander Kenta Maeda (1-0, 2.61) for Minnesota.
The second game, which will start approximately 30 minutes later after the first ends, will feature left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 5.40) for Boston against right-hander Jose Berrios (2-0, 1.54).
Eovaldi is 3-3 with a 5.05 ERA in seven career starts against Minnesota, including 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA in three starts at Target Field. Maeda, the runner up for the 2020 AL Cy Young Award, is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in his only career start against Boston. He took the 8-1 loss on July 12, 2019, at Fenway Park that saw him yield three runs on four hits, including solo homers to Devers and Christian Vazquez, over 5 2/3 innings.
Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA in six career starts against the Twins, including 1-0 with a 5.60 ERA in three starts at Target Field. Berrios, who struck out 12 while throwing six no-hit innings in his season debut at Milwaukee, followed that up with eight more strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings while allowing two runs on five hits in a 10-2 win over Seattle on Thursday. However, he has struggled against Boston in his career, compiling an 0-4 record and 4.45 ERA in five career starts.
The Twins, who managed just five hits and were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in Tuesday’s loss, should get an offensive boost with the return of 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson from a hamstring injury.
“He’s a great player,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “Any time you can insert a guy of that caliber into a lineup, it is going to create some good energy and probably some good production out there on the field. I think it’s fair to look for him out there (Wednesday).”
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz also could be back after being a late scratch from the lineup for what the team termed “a non-COVID-19 illness.” Cruz is batting .444 with four homers and 10 RBIs.
“He’s just not feeling well,” said Baldelli, who sent Cruz home before the game to recuperate. “Obviously, he’s a really important part of what we do.”
–Field Level Media