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Twins complete the sweep of Red Sox

Three Twins outfielders were in high spirits after their third straight win over the Red Sox.Brad Rempel/USA Today/USA Today Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — The Red Sox have four more months to play, so it's indisputably true there are plenty of games left. That the roster is stocked with players with lengthy histories of high-level performance also isn't in question.

The American League East is so pedestrian that one good week of baseball, maybe five wins in six days, could move the Red Sox from last place to first.

But with each day that passes, the Red Sox resemble a team without the will to play that well for a week, never mind two or three. As was the case last season, losing has become a comfortable habit.


If there's anger about playing poorly, it's tamped down or buried under a blizzard of clichés. The Red Sox talk a decent game but only rarely play one.

"We have to start winning. I'm not concerned about anything myself," Hanley Ramirez said after a 6-4 loss against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon. "We have to keep fighting."

Dustin Pedroia did what he could with a pair of two-run home runs. But the Sox were swept in the three-game series. They have lost six of eight overall and are 21-26, their low point of the season at least for now.

"Play better. That's it," Pedroia said. "There's nothing more you can say. You put in the work, you want to get results. That's what we need: results."

The Sox took a lead in the third inning when Pedroia homered to left field against Phil Hughes. But Rick Porcello gave up three runs on three hits in the bottom of the inning.

With one out and the bases empty, he walked light-hitting Aaron Hicks, just missing on a full-count fastball. Porcello thought it was a strike and manager John Farrell felt umpire Dale Scott squeezed his pitcher.


The inning opened up from there. Danny Santana singled and Porcello walked Brian Dozier. Porcello got ahead of Torii Hunter but couldn't get the strikeout. Hunter stayed in the at-bat and punched a so-so-soft single down the line in right that scored two runs.

"There's ample opportunities inside that inning to shut it off," Farrell said.

Joe Mauer followed with a groundball single to left and the Twins had a lead they never gave up.

"It's extremely disappointing. I wanted to keep our momentum in the game and get our [players] back in the dugout. I haven't done that well recently. I have to do a better job of that," Porcello said.

Hicks had a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Eddie Rosario a monster solo shot to right-center in the sixth inning. Porcello (4-4) has allowed 13 runs over 11 innings in his last two starts.

Blake Swihart singled and scored when Pedroia homered in the fifth inning. Pedroia has hit five career homers off Hughes and his seven home runs this season match his total for 2014.

"[Hughes] had trouble with the little captain over there, a couple two-run homers. That's what leaders do. They step up and try to help their team," Twins manger Paul Molitor said.

But the Red Sox were done scoring. Trailing, 6-4, they tried to rally against Minnesota's bullpen in the eighth inning and failed.

Pablo Sandoval singled with two outs, batting lefthanded against lefthander Aaron Thompson. Ramirez then drew a walk facing righthander Michael Tonkin. David Ortiz was next and he grounded to third base.

Ortiz, who has hit the Twins well over his career, was 1 for 12 in the series with one RBI. He is now hitting .216. Ramirez was 1 for 11 in the series and is down to .252. Sandoval was 2 for 12 in the series and is hitting .265.


Ramirez has not been the same hitter since injuring his left shoulder on May 4, showing an inability to pull the pitches he hammered in April. He contends it's how he's getting pitched. Opponents, Ramirez said, are jamming him inside so he's trying to go to the opposite field.

"I'm not supposed to pull that. Back up the middle, that's my approach. If you start opening your front shoulder and chasing [a pitch] . . . I'm not changing my approach," he said.

The Sox have little choice but to wait for their best-paid players to hit.

"We haven't met our expectations of what we're capable of," Farrell said. "It exists; the talent is there. To me, it's not injury related that is causing guys not to perform. We've got to go out and do better."

Said Pedroia: "I think everyone is a believer in that. If you've been consistent over your career, you are who you are. That's the way I view it and everyone views it. You have to continue grinding and find a way."

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.