Francona tossed as sloppy Red Sox hand win to Twins

Minnesota Twins' Scott Baker pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Minnesota Twins' Scott Baker pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) (Michael Dwyer)
Posted: May 07, 2011

Trevor Plouffe hit his first homer of the season and Scott Baker pitched eight strong innings for the Minnesota Twins, who capitalized on several Boston blunders in a 9-2 win over the Red Sox last night in Fenway Park.

Minnesota scored twice on balks and took advantage of a pair of errors by the Red Sox, who have allowed 21 runs in their last two games. Baker (2-2) allowed seven hits, struck out eight and walked one for the Twins, who have won three straight for just the second time this season.

J.D. Drew homered in the second inning and Adrian Gonzalez went deep in the fourth, but that was all the offense for Boston, which has lost three straight.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was ejected in the second inning after Tim Wakefield (0-1) was called for a balk. Wakefield allowed eight runs, six earned, and nine hits in 4 innings.

Plouffe had two hits, including his solo drive in the first, and scored three times as the Twins had one of their best offensive nights of the season. Their 12 hits were one short of their season high and the nine runs were also one less than their most this year.

Minnesota got a little help from the Red Sox, who fell to 3-5 on an 11-game homestand.

The Twins scored three in the second after loading the bases with no outs. Wakefield nearly got out of it by getting Drew Butera to fly out and striking out Alexi Casilla, but Denard Span got a grounder past first baseman Gonzalez and two runs scored.

Ben Revere, who reached on a single, then came in from third when Wakefield was called for a balk while trying to pick off Span. Boston got Span in a rundown and tagged him, but the out was waved off when home plate umpire Angel Hernandez called a balk.

Francona was ejected for storming out to argue the call, which he proceeded to do for several minutes after Hernandez tossed him. Crew chief Joe West had to keep Francona away from Hernandez and was bumped a few times while Francona fumed.

Gonzalez' long drive in the fourth struck one of the giant signs above the seats on the Green Monster and cut Minnesota's lead to 4-2. But Boston unraveled again defensively in the fifth.

Danny Valencia doubled to left with the bases loaded, driving in two more runs for the Twins. Wakefield was replaced by Alfredo Aceves, who inherited runners on second and third with just one out. Aceves struck out Revere and got Butera to hit a grounder to shortstop Jed Lowrie, who misplayed the ball. The error allowed Michael Cuddyer and Valencia to score, putting the Twins up, 8-2.

In other games:

* At Arlington, Texas, Curtis Granderson homered twice into the upper deck, rookie Ivan Nova limited the Texas Rangers to two singles while pitching into the eighth inning, and the New York Yankees ended their season-worst three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory.

Granderson's homer in the first came after Derek Jeter, back in the lineup after missing one game with a stiff hip, started the game with a sharp single.

_ At Toronto, Adam Lind homered and drove in two runs, Jesse Litsch struck out a career-high nine and the Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers, 7-4.

* At Baltimore, James Shields (3-1) pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, Brandon Guyer homered in his first big league at-bat, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles, 6-2. The Rays are 17-6 since a 1-8 start that included three straight losses to Baltimore to open the season.

* At Kansas City, Gio Gonzalez pitched seven effective innings and the Oakland Athletics ruined Eric Hosmer's much-anticipated major league debut with a 3-2 victory over the Royals.

Noteworthy

* The Tampa Bay Rays have placed pitcher Jeff Niemann on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain and recalled outfielder Brandon Guyer from Triple A Durham.

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