Red Sox

Price, Betts, Ramirez lead Red Sox over Twins, 6-3

Price, Betts, Ramirez lead Red Sox over Twins, 6-3

BOSTON - David Price's strength and command appear to be back.

After falling behind 3-0, the Boston Red Sox rallied behind Price to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night, with Price picking up his second win in his last three starts.

"Really good pitchers are going to seize the opportunity, seize the moment," Boston manager John Farrell said.

Price (3-2) threw a season-high 112 pitches over seven innings, allowing three runs and six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Farrell said Price got better as the game progressed, which kind of resembled the season Price has had thus far.

After missing almost the first two months of the season with an elbow strain, Farrell said Price's last two starts have been the best out of the seven he's made since coming off the disabled list.

After allowing a double on the second pitch he threw, Price got nine straight outs. After Minnesota added to its 1-0 lead with two runs in the fourth, the Red Sox gave him the lead the following inning. Price gave up just one hit over his last two innings and struck out four of the last six batters he faced.

"I think it's pretty natural that you get six, seven starts under your belt, arm strength continues to improve. It's not just measured in velocity but it's measured in consistency," Farrell said. "He had a full assortment working tonight."

Boston's offense rallied from a slow start. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit solo home runs, Tzu-Wei Lin singled and tripled for his first big league multi-hit game and Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits and an RBI.

Betts started the comeback with a leadoff homer in the fourth, his 13th of the season, and added an RBI single during Boston's three-run fifth.

"Just went up there and tried to put a good swing on a good pitch," Betts said of his homer off Kyle Gibson. "I was able to put a couple in play for a couple of RBIs, but we had a great offensive night all around."

Craig Kimbrel pitched a one-hit ninth for his AL-leading 22nd save in 23 chances, finishing Boston's last home game before the All-Star break.

Gibson (4-6) allowed five runs - three earned - and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"I thought it was one of his better nights," manager Paul Molitor said. "He's had a couple where he attacked a little bit better. I thought he used his fastball well. He was pitching in, got some jam shots on the right-handers. Overall it was a good outing."

Minnesota built its lead on Joe Mauer's RBI grounder in the first and Jorge Polanco's two-run double in the fourth. But once Price got going, the Twins' offense seemed to fizzle.

"It's not a park you get overly comfortable with at any particular point," Molitor said. "But we did have a good start to the game. Gibby was efficient early."

Gibson started to fade in the fifth, when some timely hitting and odd bounces helped Boston gain the lead.

After Betts pulled Boston within 3-1 in the fourth, Bradley's RBI double in the fifth made it 3-2 with a little help from the Green Monster in left field. Robbie Grossman got in position to field a carom off the Green Monster, but the ball hit the ladder above the scoreboard and dropped straight down, allowing Ramirez to score from first.

Christian Vazquez followed with a grounder to short that hit the wrist of Polanco's glove hand and bounced away for an error.

Deven Marrero hit a tying RBI grounder with one out on a dribbler to third, and Betts' single put Boston ahead 4-3.

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.