MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Clay Buchholz seems to be doing his part to help the Boston get on the winning track. The Red Sox just seem to be doing little to help him.
For the third consecutive start, the Red Sox gave Buchholz one run, and again it wasn't enough, as they lost 2-1 to the streaking Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. Boston is 2-8 in Buchholz's starts this season.
After rain delayed the game's first pitch for 81 minutes, Minnesota jumped on Buchholz (2-6) for three doubles and two runs in the first inning.
"I didn't have much tonight," said Buchholz, who settled down after the first and lasted 7 1-3 innings to notch Boston's 10th quality start in 13 games. "I didn't have command of any one pitch. As the game went on I found a couple pitches and was able to throw a couple strikes and make some pitches in big situations but as far as stuff goes, I feel like that's the worst that I've had."
In contrast, Mike Pelfrey (4-1) was sharp for seven innings, Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning, and the Twins moved within a game of first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
Still, the Red Sox had their chances, like when Glen Perkins got Hanley Ramirez to fly out to right field with the bases loaded to end the eighth. The All-Star left-hander stayed in and worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in as many chances.
"We got to keep putting ourselves in position to score," Red Sox leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia said. "We keep saying that, but it seems like we're one swing away every game and that swing is coming."
Mike Napoli's single in the second scored David Ortiz for Boston's lone run. The Red Sox have scored 14 runs in their last eight road games and fell to 11-13 away from Fenway Park this season.
After Pelfrey struck out Ramirez in the fourth, Ramirez whacked the bench in the dugout with his bat. In the sixth, half of Ramirez's bat went flying into the stands after it broke on a soft liner to shortstop.
"A lot of early outs," Boston manager John Farrell said of the offensive woes. "A couple ground ball double plays. I would like to think our approach can be a little more concerted. A little bit more concentrated, you never want to take away credit from a guy who has thrown the ball well this year in Pelfrey, but still I think we're capable of more than what we showed here tonight."
The Twins have won 18 of their last 24 games and 11 of 13 at home. Their 17 wins in May are the most in the American League and most for the month of May since they won 16 in 2011.
Twins: In his second rehab outing at Triple-A Rochester as he recovers from a shoulder injury, reliever Casey Fien needed just 10 pitches to get through a scoreless inning.
Both teams will be back on the field at noon on Wednesday to wrap up the three-game series. Twins RHP Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.50) will be trying for his third straight quality start. RHP Rick Porcello (4-3, 5.07) goes for Boston and is 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA in his last eight starts at Minnesota.
ORTIZ DROPPED TO 5TH
Ortiz doubled in the first to end an 0-for-16 slump. Farrell dropped Ortiz to fifth in the batter order, the lowest spot in the lineup he's hit since May 6, 2012. Ramirez was moved up to the fourth spot and Pablo Sandoval hit third
"Those guys have every ability to be an elite three guys in the lineup, and we're trying to gain a little bit more production and consistency," Farrell said before the game.