BOSTON -- No one called Clay Buchholz a cheater Monday night in Fenway Park, but for the first time in 2013 he was not declared the winner, either.
And so far, no one has accused Dustin Pedroia of corking his bat after the Red Sox second baseman hit his first home run in 185 at-bats, a drought that dated back to Sept. 11, 2012, a drive off the light tower in left that broke an eighth-inning tie.
But the Red Sox were in no mood to discuss morality issues Monday night, not when their bullpen’s mortality loomed as a much greater issue after a 6-5, 11-inning win over the Minnesota Twins. The game was decided by three two-out hits by the Sox off Twins reliever Jared Burton, the last a double by shortstop Stephen Drew, who earlier homered and had four hits in all.
But hours after placing closer Andrew Bailey on the disabled list with inflammation in his right biceps, replacement closer Joel Hanrahan was forced out of Monday night’s game with what was called forearm tightness, moments after giving up a game-tying home run to Brian Dozier in the top of the ninth.
Hanrahan had just returned last Tuesday from the DL after missing 15 games with a right hamstring strain. He’ll be re-evaluated Tuesday.
The win went to reliever Clayton Mortensen, who went 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Hanrahan. But an overworked Sox bullpen -- Tuesday’s starter, Ryan Dempster, was warming up in the 11th -- will need reinforcements.
Pedroia’s home run came off Twins reliever Casey Fien, who an inning earlier gave up a home run to Drew that tied the score at 4, the Sox climbing back from a 4-1 deficit before a crowd of 31,088 in the Fens. Pedroia fouled off six pitches, including three in a row, before driving a full-count changeup, the 10th pitch of the at-bat, off a light stanchion.
Pitching for the first time since allegations of throwing a spitter surfaced last week in Toronto, Buchholz was tagged for two runs in the first inning Monday, the first runs he has allowed in the first inning all season and matching the most runs he had allowed in six previous starts. He threw 36 pitches in the inning, giving up Wall-ball doubles to Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham and an RBI single to Justin Morneau for two runs, then walking the next two hitters to load the bases.
Buchholz struck out Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks to end the inning, but was touched for doubles by Arcia and Hicks in the fourth and a Mauer double, Willingham single and Morneau sacrifice fly for a fourth Twins run in the fifth.
After coming into the game with a major-league best 1.01 ERA, Buchholz left after six innings and 116 pitches, registering nine strikeouts on a night that TV cameras showed no shiny substances on his left forearm, as they had last Wednesday night in Toronto, just a dusting of rosin. His ERA by the end of the night had climbed to 1.60.
Left-handed reliever Craig Breslow worked a scoreless eighth in his first appearance since missing all of spring training and the season’s first 31 games with shoulder inflammation.
Miller time: Andrew Miller came up big in a key moment, striking out left-handed hitters Morneau and Chris Parmalee to end a two-on, no-out threat in the seventh. Miller has been outscored upon in his last seven appearances, and made back-to-back appearances in which he recorded his two outs with whiffs.
Victorino lap: Victorino hit his first home run in a Sox uniform, and first in 102 at-bats, when he hooked a drive inside the foul pole in right to lead off the fourth. Victorino had three hits after going 1-for-7 in Texas upon his return from back inflammation.
Streakin’ Papi: David Ortiz doubled in his last at-bat, in the eighth inning, to extend his hitting streak to 26 games, including all 14 since he was activated from the DL prior to his season debut April 20. His streak is the longest spanning two seasons for the Sox since at least 1916, Eddie Bressoud’s 23-gamer in 1963-64 the previous longest.