The Boston Red Sox seemingly can get their offense cranked up at any time this season.
J.D. Martinez hit his major league-leading 32nd homer, Mookie Betts had two RBI doubles and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 10-4 on Saturday night for their 17th win in 21 games.
Betts raised his MLB-leading average to .346 and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run triple for the Red Sox. They have a 5 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees atop the AL East and own the majors’ best record at 73-33.
“We’ve been seeing it for a while this year. It’s easy to start taking it for granted,” winning pitcher Rick Porcello said. “It’s pretty incredible what everybody’s doing top to bottom.”
The Red Sox entered the night leading the majors with 5.3 runs per game and after two nights where they were held down, they took charge in the middle innings.
“I think we all just enjoy winning,” Bradley said. “Winning’s fun, losing’s not.”
Logan Morrison hit a solo homer for the Twins, a night after they appeared to throw in the towel a bit in pursuit of a playoff spot following a pair of trades that sent away infielder Eduardo Escobar and reliever Ryan Pressly.
Porcello (13-4) labored through 5 2/3 innings on a steamy night, giving up four runs on five hits, striking out five and walking one. Jake Odorizzi (4-7) gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings.
“They’re 40 games over .500 for a reason,” Odorizzi said. “A good, quality team, especially here.”
Trailing 4-1, Boston scored three times in the fourth and moved ahead on Martinez’s shot that left Fenway Park over the Green Monster seats in the fifth.
Bradley’s triple went off the center-field wall over the glove of leaping outfielder Jake Cave, and he scored on Betts’ double down the left-field line. Betts’ other double came in a four-run eighth.
The Twins had moved ahead 4-1 in the third. Jorge Polanco had a two-run triple and scored on Brian Dozier’s single.
Morrison’s homer tied it after Mitch Moreland’s RBI single pushed Boston ahead.
Twins manager and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor left the team to attend the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York, on Sunday. Bench coach Derek Shelton ran the club.
“You get these guys in a four-game series and they’re a difficult lineup,” Shelton said. “When you make good pitches with two strikes, they find a way to extend at-bats.”
Minnesota vice president Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine got into town Saturday and were on the field discussing the trades and their thoughts nearing the non-waiver trading deadline.
They were aware they may have not been welcome after the moves, but felt they needed to be here.
“That’s part of the reason why we’re here today,” Falvey said. “We understand that we may not have been received with open arms, but we’re the path forward from this day forward with what the complexion of the Minnesota Twins looks like. We want to be accountable for those decisions.”
Struggling Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly did a side session in the bullpen about a half hour before batting practice started with the club video taping his work, hoping to find answers for his recent woes that’s seen his ERA balloon from 2.61 in mid-June to 4.79 entering the game.
He pitched a scoreless ninth.
Twins: Recalled Miguel Sano from Triple-A Rochester to fill one of the roster spots opened by the trades. The third baseman was sent to the minors for over six weeks to work on his conditioning.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (10-day disabled list, sprained right ankle) was set to see a specialist later Saturday. The lefty looked to be in good spirits on the field before batting practice, walking around and chatting with Sano. … Moreland returned after missing the previous two games with a sore left knee, but Rafael Devers limped off after running the bases. “Looks like lefty hammy,” manager Alex Cora said of Devers. “We’ll know more tomorrow morning.”
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (10-7, 3.48 ERA) is set to start the series finale Sunday.
Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi (3-4, 4.26) is slated to make his Red Sox debut after being acquired in a trade from Tampa Bay on Wednesday.