MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Max Kepler’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Minnesota a 4-3 victory Thursday over Boston — stopping a five-game losing streak for the Twins and breaking a nine-game winning string for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox, who tied it in the eighth on Alex Verdugo’s three-run double, were on their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2018, the season they won the World Series.
The Twins avoided matching their longest losing streak in three years under manager Rocco Baldelli, a six-game slide from July 31-Aug. 5, 2020.
Luis Arraez opened the Minnesota ninth with his fourth hit, a single off Adam Ottavino (1-1) and Jorge Polanco was hit by a pitch. Nelson Cruz, on a 10-game hitting streak, then struck out.
Kepler came through with his hit to shallow center, helping the Twins avoid what would’ve been their first four-game sweep by the Red Sox in 21 years.
Alex Colomé (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory, despite a one-out double by Christian Arroyo.
Verdugo capped a 10-pitch at-bat against Taylor Rogers with his two-out double in the eighth that made it 3-all. The Red Sox had loaded the bases against Hansel Robles.
In five of Boston’s wins during its victory streak, the Red Sox rallied from a deficit in the fifth inning or later.
Michael Pineda allowed only two singles over seven scoreless innings for the Twins, who had a home run by slump-ridden slugger Miguel Sanó in the sixth.
Pineda’s career-best winning streak remained at eight straight decisions, a 15-start stretch with a 2.70 ERA dating to July 26, 2019. The big right-hander served a 60-game suspension for taking a banned weight loss drug, bridging the last two seasons.
Using his trusty slider to help tame the top-scoring team in the American League, Pineda…