Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 8/5/12
The Boston Red Sox recognize their playoff hopes are fading, but they don't seem to have a way to stop it. The Red Sox will try to avoid being swept at home in a four-game series by the Minnesota Twins for the first time in 21 years in Sunday's finale. Boston came into this set having won four of six games, but it hasn't built on the momentum as Minnesota has rallied to consecutive victories. Joe Mauer hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Alfredo Aceves for a 6-4 win Saturday after Pedro Ciriaco broke an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit home run for the Red Sox. The loss came after Boston (53-55) failed to protect a 5-1 lead Friday, losing 6-5 in 10 innings. The Red Sox were shut out in the series opener. Boston, which has lost four straight overall, has dropped 10 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East and is five games behind in the wild-card race. "They're all devastating now," Nick Punto said. "You get this late in the season and you look at the standings and we're not really sitting in a great position. Wild card, there's a lot of teams. We can't afford to lose games like that." While the Twins (47-60) have the second-worst record in the AL, they are showing why they can't be taken lightly down the stretch with Mauer and Justin Morneau both hitting well. Minnesota has won seven of nine. "We're playing good baseball," Mauer said. "We're just fighting. It's been three tough games here in Boston, and we're never out of it. That's the mentality that we have, even since the start of the season, but it's definitely nice to pull it out late." The Twins haven't recorded a four-game sweep in Boston since July 18-21, 1991. Carl Crawford, who hit a run-scoring double Saturday after going 3 for 5 Friday, will try to help Boston bounce back Sunday, although he is 1 for 14 against Twins scheduled starter Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.43 ERA). Boston turns to Franklin Morales (2-2, 3.32), who starts in place of Josh Beckett after he left Tuesday's start with back spasms. Morales made five starts earlier this year, going 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA. The left-hander doesn't have a decision in four career relief appearances against the Twins, including two this season. He's allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings this year. He'll try to cool off the Twins. Besides Mauer, Boston's also had trouble with Morneau, who is 8 for 12 with three doubles and three RBIs in the series. Blackburn was sharp his last time out, giving up two runs and five hits in eight innings of a 4-3 loss to Chicago last Tuesday. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA in his career against the Red Sox. He allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings of an 11-2 defeat April 24. Kelly Shoppach, who went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts Saturday, is 9 for 18 with three homers and two doubles lifetime against Blackburn.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chris Long will not re-sign with Patriots, hints he wants bigger role

Nerlens Noel late for Mavs team plane, loses chance to start

Ex-NFLer Will Allen sentenced to six years in prison for Ponzi scheme

Five Richmond baseball players suspended for playing fantasy football

Kristaps Porzingis: Knicks should have used triangle all season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

‘Game of Thrones’ theme nights are coming to MLB

Report: Saban turned down interest from six NFL teams

Browns will listen to offers for first pick in 2017 NFL Draft

Rams officially place franchise tag on Trumaine Johnson

11-year-old writes letters to NBA teams to tout Monmouth player

Doug Marrone affirms that Blake Bortles is Jaguars’ quarterback

With Joel Embiid out, who should win Rookie of the Year?

Box Score 3/1: It's all about Durant and his knee

The 'Simone Biles vs. Mr. T dance-off you didn't know you wanted until now' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Daryl Morey burns up the phone lines

The top 10 MLB left fielders headed into spring training 2017

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/28: Fat Tuesday means athletes on floats.

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

With Joel Embiid out, who should win Rookie of the Year?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Daryl Morey burns up the phone lines

The 'Simone Biles vs. Mr. T dance-off you didn't know you wanted until now' quiz

The top 10 MLB left fielders headed into spring training 2017

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in the 1980s

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker