MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — One week into the season, things looked bleak for the Minnesota Twins.
After 46 games, the outlook has greatly improved.
Aaron Hicks homered for the first time in more than a year and the Twins extended their winning streak to five games with a 6-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
Eddie Rosario also homered for Minnesota, which has won nine of 11. The Twins swept Boston for the first time since June 13-15, 2006.
Coupled with Kansas City’s 4-2 loss in New York, Minnesota is tied with the Royals for first in the American League Central.
“Everybody is rowing that boat together,” said right fielder Torii Hunter, whose team has gone 27-12 after a 1-6 start.
“We’re battling at the plate, going first to third, coming up with some big hits when we need them and playing great defense right now. This is the best I’ve seen in a long time. It’s good to be in first, now you’ve just got to hold on to it.”
Dustin Pedroia homered twice for the Red Sox, who have lost six of eight.
“You always want to win, so it’s frustrating when we’re not getting those Ws we should be getting. It’s a long season, and we’re still going,” said catcher Blake Swihart, who nearly tied the game in the seventh, but his drive to left field with a runner on was caught at the wall by Rosario.
Minnesota starter Phil Hughes (4-4) allowed four earned runs in 6 2-3 innings. Glen Perkins pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save in as many chances.
“Odds will tell you that sooner or later some things are not going to go his way,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s not very often that a player can ride a very long streak of saves. … He’s confident, he’s healthy, and so far he’s been perfect.”
Hicks hit a two-run home run to right field in the fourth for a 5-2 Minnesota lead. It was Hicks’ first homer in 171-at bats since April 24, 2014.
“We’ve been preaching to him for a long time about his ability to influence games. It’s not always going to be with the bat. He can run the bases and he can certainly make plays and cover ground,” Molitor said.
“Playing good defense is what keeps me in the lineup,” Hicks said. “If I’m able to do that and also get hits it’s a plus.”
Rick Porcello (4-4) allowed six earned runs in seven innings for Boston. In his past two starts, Porcello has allowed 13 earned runs in 11 1-3 innings after allowing just six earned runs in his previous 25 2-3 innings over four starts.
“I’m leaving the ball up too much,” he said.
Pedroia, who hit a two-run home run in the third for a 2-0 lead, hit another two-run shot in the fifth to get the Red Sox within 5-4. It was Pedroia’s second multi-home run game of the season — the other was Opening Day — and fifth of his career.
Rosario homered in the sixth to make it 6-4.
UPCOMING ROSTER MOVE
Before Thursday’s game in Texas, Boston plans to call up left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to make his major league debut. “We’re running through a stretch of 20 consecutive games played, so we’re building in a sixth starter this time through the rotation,” manager John Farrell said. Rodriguez is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA at Triple-A Pawtucket. A corresponding move is expected to be made Thursday.
Red Sox: OF Rusney Castillo missed the game after jarring his right shoulder on a diving catch in the eighth inning Tuesday. Farrell said Castillo couldn’t get loose throwing and he believes the issue is “minor in nature.”
Twins: On a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester, reliever Casey Fien has worked two scoreless innings and was scheduled to throw again Wednesday afternoon. “He’s getting close,” general manager Terry Ryan said.
Red Sox: Boston opens a four-game series Thursday night in Texas with Eduardo Rodriguez making his major league debut. The left-hander will try to be the first Boston starter to win in his debut since Daisuke Matsuzaka. He’ll be opposed by Texas’ Nick Martinez (4-0, 1.96).
Twins: Minnesota is off Thursday before welcoming Toronto for three games over the weekend. Trevor May (3-3, 4.95) is scheduled to pitch against Toronto’s Mark Buehrle (5-4, 5.13) in the series opener.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.