MINNEAPOLIS — The game the night before had gone 17 innings, lasted for 5:40 and used up eight Red Sox relievers. Thus, the only job assigned to Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez Wednesday night was to pitch deep into the baseball game against the Twins. Mission accomplished. Rodriguez lasted seven innings, long enough for the Red Sox lineup to mount a pair of rallies that led to a 9-4 victory that put an exclamation point on a 5-1 road trip that succeeded at nearly every level. Winning three in a row against the hapless Orioles was nothing to boast, but the three-game set against the Twins, one of the three best teams in baseball this season, posed a far tougher test. And the Red Sox passed it, winning two of three a feat that will help them dispel their earned reputation for not faring too well against the good teams in baseball. The victory was marred by an injury to third baseman Rafael Devers, who had to leave the game with right hamstring tightness after pulling up running the bases in the fifth inning. Rodriguez was not unhittable: He allowed four runs on eight hits, while striking out nine and walking three. At first, Rodriguez did not appear as if he was capable of pitching deep. He gave up four runs in his first four innings, and his pitch count was at 87 after five. But a quick sixth allowed him to finish up with a quick seventh as well, and he finished 111 pitches thrown. After going down in order in the first inning, the Red Sox lineup got busy, very busy, against Twins starter Kyle Gibson in the second inning, when they scored thrice. Leadoff hitter Devers singled, and after reaching second base on a walk by Xander Bogaerts, had no trouble reaching home on Brock Holt’s single to center field. Michael Chavis then poked an RBI single to right field for the second RBI. Mookie Betts’ infield single scored Chavis to give the Red Sox the 3-1 lead. The Twins had scored first in the first inning, with Eddie Rosario singling in Nelson Cruz (double). The Twins had a run taken away from them when C.J. Cron, on an ill-advised send, got thrown out at home by center fielder Jackie Bradley on Cruz’ double. The Twins managed a run in the third on a Luis Arraez RBI single. Down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Twins regained the lead and lent credence to the notion that Rodriguez would not be able to give the Red Sox the deep start they craved. Solo homers by Willians Astudillo and then Tuesday night hero Max Kepler put the Twins on top 4-3. The Red Sox offense still had the opportunity of taking another crack at Gibson and they did not waste it in the fifth, beginning with a leadoff walk by J.D. Martinez. Devers singled and then Bogaerts hit his double that scored Martinez to tie the game and also bring about the substitution of Eduardo Nunez as pinch-runner for Devers at third base. A sacrifice fly by Holt brought in Nunez for the 5-4 lead, then Chavins singled, again to right field, to up the lead to 6-4. That was the end of the night for Gibson, who was replaced by Sean Poppen. In the eighth inning, the Red Sox scored three more times against Poppen, with Andrew Benintendi and Martinez’ getting their first RBI of the evening before Holt walked in his third run of the game.
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