BOSTON (AP) — Jarren Duran lined one ball off Kenta Maeda’s ankle, knocking the Twins starter out of the game, and another off the Green Monster during a six-run third inning on Thursday to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 11-5 victory over Minnesota.
Maeda (0-3) allowed a home run to Alex Verdugo to lead off the bottom of the first and left trailing 1-0 after taking Duran’s 111 mph line drive off his left ankle in the second inning. The Twins right-hander made the play to get the out at first and end the inning.
X-rays were negative.
“He got hit squarely,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You’re really hoping not to get a really bad result, like a broken ankle or something like that. We were fearful, to be honest, watching him on the ground out there. But as he got up and the initial pain went away, he was able to stand and move around. So that was positive.”
Emilio Pagan relieved Maeda and gave up five straight hits, including Duran’s double, as Boston opened a 7-0 lead. Third baseman Willi Castro homered for Minnesota and also got an out as a pitcher in the eighth, retiring Kiké Hernández on a groundout on a pitch that wouldn’t have violated the 45 mph speed limit on the MassPike that runs beyond Fenway Park’s famous left field wall.
“Willi hit a bomb today, and then he goes out there and gives us a third of an inning. So he can do it,” Baldelli deadpanned. “I will not watch it later.”
Tanner Houck (3-0) scattered four hits over his first six innings but gave up Castro’s two-run homer in the seventh. He also took Jose Miranda’s line drive off his left foot in he seventh but remained in the game. In all, Houck allowed three runs on six hits and a walk, striking out seven in seven innings — the longest start of his career.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the ninth when Edouard Julien singled to center, scoring one run. But Max Kepler was caught taking too big of a turn at third base and was thrown out to end the game.
Baldelli said Kepler thought he would be able to score easily and was surprised with third base coach Tommy Watkins held him up.
“We’re basically going base to base because none of those runs matter,” Baldelli said. “Once he went too far and then stopped, he was out. And that was a play that I had not seen before in a situation like that and hopefully don’t see again.”
Hernández had three hits for Boston, and Duran drove in three runs. Yu Chang, who was reinstated from the paternity list earlier in the day, hit a two-run homer as the Red Sox added three in the fifth to make it 10-1.
Every batter in the Red Sox starting lineup had at least one hit.
Maeda, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, managed to stay on his feet, retrieve the ball and throw Duran out before crumpling to the grass.
The Twins training staff rushed out to help him. After a few minutes, he walked off to the dugout.
“I wasn’t sure if I cracked the bone or not. It just happened so quickly,” he said through a translator. “I saw the ball drop right in front of me, and my first instinct was grab the ball, throw the ball, get the out. … You saw me collapse after making that play, so there was excruciating pain there.”
Castro, who played most of the game at third base, pitched in the eighth inning and got Hernandez out on a grounder to second. Castro’s first three pitches were 45, 41, and 44 mph before he threw one 75 mph for a ball and then ended it on a 44 mph pitch credited as a slider.
Twins: Visit Washington for the start of a three-game series on Friday. RHP Tyler Mahle (1-2) will face RHP Trevor Williams (1-1) in the opener.
Red Sox: Open a three-game series at Baltimore on Friday. RHP Nick Pivetta (0-1) faces RHP Freddy Peralta (2-1).