Unhappy with the piss-poor defensive eforts in three of the past four games (all losses), Robin Ventura made his players go through a full defensive practice in full uniform five hours before first pitch.
It will take some time to see if any lessons will sink in, but the earliest return is promising -- a rather solid (for the Sox) 4-2 victory over the Twins.
A sound inning on offense made the difference. With the game tied at 2, Dewayne Wise led off the inning by legging out a double to center. Tyler Flowers followed with a double of his own to left to give the Sox a 3-2 lead. Alejandro De Aza bunted Flowers to third, and Alexei Ramirez muscled an inside-out single to center to drive in Flowers for a two-run lead.
It was a better game, although not perfect. The Sox committed an error for the sixth straight game thanks to an equipment malfunction. Alexei Ramirez's throw from short broke the webbing on Adam Dunn's mitt, which allowed Brian Dozier to reach with one out in the sixth. But Jake Peavy came back to strike out Joe Mauer, and Tyler Flowers gunned down Dozier at second to clean it up. Likewise, Wise made an ill-advised throw home on Trevor Plouffe's game-tying single to center, but the Twins couldn't take a base.
On the other hand, Alex Rios made a nice throw home when Justin Morneau came lumbering around third on Oswaldo Arcia's single in the fifth. Tyler Flowers caught it and sprawled across the plate as Morneau side around the plate. Flowers missed on the first attempt, but the Minnesota feed showed Flowers clipping his shoulder. Unfortunately, Jordan Baker didn't see it, and while Flowers looked for the out call, Morneau regrouped and scrambled back. When he touched home plate -- after running into Flowers' mitt again -- home plate umpire Jordan Baker called him safe, which prompted angry reaction from Flowers, Jake Peavy and Robin Ventura.
That run ended up mattering, but Peavy still managed to come away with the win thanks to the eighth inning rally. He allowed the two runs on five hits over seven innings, striking out six without a single walk. His fourth consecutive victory runs his record to 5-1 on the season.
But for the first seven innings, it looked like a pair of second-inning homers would be all the support he could get. Dunn and Dayan Viciedo went back-to-back off Kevin Correia in the second inning -- Dunn went to left field, and Viciedo pulled his the same way -- except into the upper deck. Conor Gillaspie restarted the rally with a single, but Jeff Keppinger grounded into a double play.
That was one of four double plays that either stunted or killed a rally, as Correia found pitcher's best friend in the first, fourth and sixth innings, too.
- First-base umpire Dan Bellino blew a call at first when he ruled Dunn out on a grounder to deep second. That call was much easier to make than Flowers' tag at home, and cost Dunn a single he could always use.
- Jesse Crain threw a 1-2-3 eighth, his 14th consecutive scoreless outing.