MINNEAPOLIS — Jonny Gomes knew exactly what would happen when he saw Red Sox teammate Will Middlebrooks bunt two runners over in the top of the 10th inning Friday night.
As he expected, the Minnesota Twins intentionally walked Stephen Drew to load the bases. That put the pressure on Gomes with one out.
“The worst thing you can do there is hit the ball on the ground,” Gomes said. “I was looking for something at least a little up.”
Twins pitcher Josh Roenicke threw a slider with just enough space under it for Gomes to hit the ball to center field. His sacrifice fly gave the Red Sox a 3-2 victory.
“Sometimes it’s good to have a little uppercut,” Gomes said.
The Twins botched the play. Center fielder Aaron Hicks was lined up and might have had a chance to throw out Dustin Pedroia at the plate. But left fielder Oswaldo Arcia got too close and Hicks hesitated before he threw.
Koji Uehara retired the Twins in order in the bottom of the inning. His first save of the season extended the team’s win streak to three games.
Clay Buchholz, Andrew Miller, Alex Wilson, and Uehara retired the final 17 Twins in a row. Wilson got the final out in the ninth inning and that was enough for his first career victory.
“I can’t say enough about the way every guy came to the mound tonight,” Sox manager John Farrell said.
Pedroia was 0 for 4 when he came to the plate against Roenicke to start the 10th inning. He had left six runners on base and twice grounded into a double play.
But this time he singled to right. David Ortiz (3 for 4) then walked. Middlebrooks, who had a game-winning, three-run double against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth inning Thursday, was told to get a bunt down.
“The situation called for it,” Farrell said. “We had to do what we could to move the runners up 90 feet.”
Middlebrooks had not bunted since 2008, his first year of professional ball, when he was with rookie league Lowell. But he successfully tapped the ball down the first base line on the second pitch he saw.
“It’s an ideal situation to bunt. I was just trying to get the job done,” Middlebrooks said.
Minnesota starter Vance Worley came into the game 1-4 with a 7.15 earned run average. Opponents were hitting .379 against him with a lofty .977 OPS.
But he held the Red Sox to one unearned run over six innings.
That run came in the first inning. Daniel Nava reached on an infield second and went to second when second baseman Brian Dozier threw the ball away. Nava scored on a two-out single by Ortiz.
The Sox had runners on base in every inning against Worley and did not score again against him. Worley left after 99 pitches. He allowed six hits and walked three.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had lefthander Brian Duensing start the seventh inning despite the Red Sox having Gomes leading off.
Gomes, whose chief value is his ability to hit lefties, drew a walk. Gomes then took third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to right.
Slumping Jacoby Ellsbury was next and he hit the first pitch he saw hard up the middle. It deflected off the glove of shortstop Pedro Florimon for an RBI single that made it 2-2.
It was only the second time in 14 games that Ellsbury drove in a run. He was in a 6-for-49 slump before the single.
The Sox threatened against Minnesota’s third reliever, righthander Jared Burton, in the eighth inning. Drew doubled with two outs before Gomes walked. But Mike Carp struck out looking.
Buchholz retired the first six Twins in order, striking out five in a row. That burst of perfection ended when Trevor Plouffe, 0 for 7 in his career against Buchholz, doubled to the gap in right field.
It was the kind of play usual right fielder Shane Victorino often makes easily. But Victorino was out with a sore back and Nava was not able to catch up to the ball.
With one out, Florimon hit a curveball down the right-field line for a home run. Florimon has three home runs in 74 games in the major leagues, two coming against the Red Sox this season.
The home run was the first allowed by Buchholz since his first start of the season on April 3 against the Yankees, when Travis Hafner connected against him.
The Twins threatened again in the fourth inning when Ryan Doumit and Arcia drew two-out walks. But Buchholz struck out Plouffe swinging at a fastball.
Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning. Hicks singled before Dozier walked and Chris Parmelee singled.
Buchholz struck out Josh Willingham on four pitches then won a six-pitch showdown against Justin Morneau by getting him on a fly ball to left field.
Buchholz went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out nine. The righthander has a 1.78 ERA after nine starts.