Red Sox

Leon hits 2 HRs, Sale fans 10, Red Sox rout Twins, 17-6

Leon hits 2 HRs, Sale fans 10, Red Sox rout Twins, 17-6

MINNEAPOLIS - Sandy Leon hit a pair of two-run homers, Chris Sale struck out 10 and the Boston Red Sox romped out of town with a 17-6 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Twins fueled by a season-high five homers and finished with a 10-run ninth.

Sale (3-2) reached double-digit strikeouts for the sixth straight time, stretching his major league-leading 2017 total to 73. In 2015, he tied Pedro Martinez's major league mark by fanning at least 10 for eight starts in a row.

The lanky left-hander briefly lost the lead in a four-run fifth inning while the Twins batted around, but Leon broke the tie in the sixth with a two-out homer off Minnesota ace Ervin Santana (5-1).

The Sale-Santana matchup was just the third in the majors in the last 35 years with both pitchers carrying an ERA below 1.40 after at least six starts, but the duel was effectively done in the first inning when Dustin Pedroia went deep and Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run shot for the Red Sox.

Mookie Betts had a homer in the fifth, too, among his three hits. After starting the series with the fewest home runs in the in the major leagues, the Red Sox hit nine homers over the three games at Target Field, with three by Leon and two apiece by Benintendi and Chris Young.

Four of their five hits off Santana left the ballpark, pushing the right-hander's ERA from 0.66 to 1.72. He has finished six innings in all seven starts this year.

Sale also went six innings, giving up four runs.

With a homer by Kennys Vargas and a sacrifice fly by Eddie Rosario, the Twins cut the lead to 7-6 in the eighth to trigger the arrival of closer Craig Kimbrel for a pair of strikeouts to end the inning with a runner on third.

The Red Sox wrapped up the breakout weekend for their bats by sending 16 men to the plate in the ninth inning against a Twins bullpen that's been falling apart to record their season-high score for the second straight game.

Mitch Moreland drove in four runs, with an RBI single in the eighth and a two-run double and bases-loaded walk in the ninth.



Sale struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced, in his first turn since the tumultuous series against Baltimore when he threw behind Orioles star Manny Machado but avoided suspension. He gave up four hits and three walks.

The runs in the fifth scored on two sacrifice flies and a two-run single by Jorge Polanco, a rally that began with a hit by pitch that barely grazed Chris Gimenez's leg. The Twins have scored 29 runs in 29 innings against Sale over their last six matchups.



After right-hander Justin Haley was reinstated from the 10-day DL earlier than the Twins preferred because of recent struggles on the current staff and a shortage of prospects in Triple-A, the former Red Sox prospect acquired through the Rule 5 draft gave up three hits, one walk and three runs while recording one out.



Red Sox: With Moreland the only player who has started all 31 games, manager John Farrell plans to give him some rest during interleague play this week and use Hanley Ramirez at 1B with the DH unavailable.

Twins: The Twins had Byron Buxton back in CF from a two-day break, following a wall collision, but 2B Brian Dozier sat out for a second straight game due to a sprained left ankle suffered while fielding a ground ball. Dozier was walking significantly better on Sunday than on Saturday, so the Twins were holding off on a DL stint.



Red Sox: After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox begin the three-game series in Milwaukee on Tuesday. LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-1, 4.00 ERA) will pitch the opener, with RHP Wily Peralta (4-2, 4.88 ERA) starting for the Brewers.

Twins: Have a break on Monday before a three-game series that begins in Chicago vs. the White Sox on Tuesday, with LHP Hector Santiago (3-1, 2.78 ERA) taking the mound. RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-2, 5.02 ERA) will start for Chicago. Santiago pitched for the White Sox from 2011-13. Pelfrey was with the Twins from 2013-15.

Kimbrel back in camp, but infant daughter on his mind

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Kimbrel back in camp, but infant daughter on his mind

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has returned to Fort Myers after spending the past three weeks in Boston, where his infant daughter Lydia has undergone multiple heart surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital.

On Monday, an emotional Kimbrel spoke to reporters in Florida, including The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman, about the ordeal after throwing a batting practice session.  

"We’ll be in and out of Boston Children’s Hospital the rest of her life but for this stay, hopefully, a couple more weeks," Kimbrel said. “She’s in the recovery process but life-threatening wise, she’s in a good place that I can be down here." 

Kimbrel said he and his wife Ashley "can't say enough about how amazing Boston Children's Hospital has been." 

"There's no denying it's been the toughest thing we've ever been through," Kimbrel said.  

"In the last week, her recovery has been unbelievable and she's showing great signs and we're very blessed and we want to thank the Red Sox and Alex [Cora] for understanding they've been through this and working with us," Kimbrel said. 

He said Lydia, born in November, will need another surgery when she's around 3 or 4 years old to help ensure normal development. 

"It's been tough, I can say that. We're definitely, me and my wife, we've had each other and we've had our family, we've had a great support. Everyone is sending out prayers that have definitely been heard. Now, I'm back down here. The other day I threw a live BP up at Babson [College in Wellesley, Mass.], and me and her got to talking and seeing where Lydia is, and how she's progressed, she's in a good, comfortable place for me to be down here. If she wasn't, I wouldn't be here.

"My family comes first and then baseball comes. I have to thank the Red Sox for letting me be there with my family and then helping me continue to prepare while I was at home. Stepping away for a few hours was definitely a release. It did help to get in the weight room. It did help to throw the ball. But that's not going to take away the emotions we went through in the hospital."

Kimbrel said he and his wife talked about how fortunate they were to be in Boston and its world-class healthcare facilities. 

"We believe that everything in life happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it at the time," he said. "There's a lesson to be learned and something to be shared through every step you go through in life. As difficult as this is, and I know it will take time, hopefully, this experience and everything we've been through, we can share that with others, try to impact someone else's life. Because I know for a fact my daughter's going to be able to do that one day."



Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

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Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel returned to Fort Myers on Sunday after his 4-month-old daughter underwent successful heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Red Sox are confident he'll be ready for Opening Day.

“Oh, yeah. Plenty,” manager Alex Cora replied when asked if Kimbrel had time to get ready for the March 29 opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg. “With him it’s a different schedule, anyway. He’ll be ready.”

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart defect. He left the team Feb. 28 to be with her and his family in Boston, but pitching coach Dana Levangie said Kimbrel was on a pitching program during that time.

“The most important thing is that the family is okay with [Kimbrel returning to the Sox],” Cora said. “If they’re okay with it, we’re okay with it.”