Twins can’t sweep Red Sox in Fenway, fall 6-4

Published 9:13 am Monday, August 6, 2012

BOSTON — Minnesota’s magic couldn’t last another day.

Less than 24 hours after pulling out an improbable win, the Twins scored three times in the ninth inning Sunday but came up short, falling 6-4 to the Boston Red Sox.

All in all, though, it was a successful trip for Minnesota, which took three of four at Fenway Park.

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“The fact that we didn’t just lay over and die right there, too, kept fighting and got back to pretty close. I thought we had a decent chance there in the ninth,” said Twins starter Nick Blackburn, who allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings. “Obviously, it’s very late in the season, but we’re not just laying down and shutting it off, which is good to see.”

The Twins followed a two-hit shutout on Thursday with a pair of dramatic wins over the Red Sox.

They erased a four-run deficit before winning in 10 innings Friday and then delivered an even more exciting encore Saturday. With two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth, Joe Mauer deposited a full-count pitch from Boston closer Alfredo Aceves into the seats above the Green Monster, handing the Red Sox a heartbreaking 6-4 setback.

The Twins were growing accustomed to these late-game heroics.

Not this time, though.

Josh Willingham started Sunday’s ninth-inning rally with a solo home run off Vicente Padilla, his 28th of the season. After a walk to Justin Morneau, Padilla served up a two-run homer to Ryan Doumit, bringing the Twins within two.

But Aceves came in and atoned for his rough outing a day earlier, retiring the final three batters for his 23rd save and helping the Red Sox snap a four-game skid.

“We’re not going to quit. I can guarantee you that,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. “These guys are in it until the last out. That’s the feeling you want to have on the bench and right now we have that feeling going on pretty good.”

Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and Franklin Morales turned in another solid substitute start for Boston.

Gonzalez finished with three RBIs. Carl Crawford added three singles, an RBI and a leaping catch for the Red Sox on his 31st birthday.

Ben Revere extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games with a single, drove in a run and made a splendid over-the-shoulder catch for Minnesota.

Revere’s hitting streak is the longest by a Twins’ player since Torii Hunter had a 23-game one in 2007.