BOSTON -- Samuel Deduno -- evidently the Dominican Republic allows just one “Sammy” per generation -- signed his first pro contract in the island nation in 2003 and is 29 years old. He has won as many as 10 games only once in his career, and that was in Double-A. He missed the 2008 season because of Tommy John surgery. A month ago, he was pitching against Pawtucket.
Thursday night in Fenway Park, he stepped up in class, facing Pawtucket’s parent team, the Red Sox. This was his fifth major league start. He threw more balls (51) than strikes (50).
And he has now won his last three starts, or three more than Jon Lester has won in seven starts over a month.
Deduno and two relief pitchers, one of whom (Casey Fien) belonged to the Red Sox for two days, combined to shut out the Red Sox, 5-0, on a deflating night that ran counter to the popular notion that the Sox were about to use one of the American League’s weakest links as catalyst to a hot streak.
Instead, with Deduno pitching six innings in which only Adrian Gonzalez hit safely (a double and single), and the Twins bullpen setting down the last nine in order, the Twins pinned a second straight loss on the Red Sox, who dropped back to .500 (53-53), nine games behind the idle Yankees in the AL East.
The Sox three times left two men on base against Deduno. Cody Ross popped to short to end the first, Will Middlebrooks flied to center to end the fourth and Ryan Lavarnway, catching his first game of the season for the Sox, lined hard to left to end the sixth.
Lester, meanwhile, pitched superbly, but was beaten by the kind of two-out hits that come when nothing you try works to your favor. Ben Revere hit a soft liner in the third over the head of Pedro Ciriaco to knock in one run, and Ryan Doumit hit a changeup that was a foot and a half off the plate for an RBI double to right in the sixth.
Lester gave up seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven in eight innings, but was left to answer why he hasn’t won a game since June 27.