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May 3, 2024 7:49 am

Red Sox aim to subdue red-hot Twins

Tanner Houck

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora took a moment to praise his team for a successful homestand in what has become a promising start to the season.

It was just a moment, though. Cora quickly turned his thoughts to Friday’s opener of a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.

“It was a great homestand,” Cora said of the 4-2 homestand, in which his team outscored opponents 34-16. “It wasn’t better (than the last one), it was great. We played great. We pitched well. We played clean baseball. …

“So now we have Minnesota. We’ll try to do the same thing on the road.”

It likely will not be easy.

The Twins have won 10 games in a row heading into the opener of their seven-game homestand. Minnesota is coming off a perfect road trip in which it reeled off three-game sweeps against both the Los Angeles Angels and the Chicago White Sox.

The latest victory for the Twins came at a cost, however. Byron Buxton injured his right knee in the series finale against the White Sox on Wednesday and limped slowly off the field.

Buxton has battled injuries throughout his career. He declined to speak to reporters after the game, and the team said it would know more about his injury soon.

“We’re going to get some imaging done just so we know what we’re dealing with, and we’re going to start there,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Teammate Ryan Jeffers said he spoke with Buxton after the injury.

“He’s in good spirits,” Jeffers said. “I don’t know much about what (the injury) is, but he had some uplifting words, and he was in seemingly good spirits. Let’s take that as a good sign.”

Red Sox right-hander Tanner Houck (3-2, 1.60 ERA) will look to continue his breakout season when he takes the mound in the series opener. Houck, 27, has walked five batters and struck out 41 in 39 1/3 innings this season.

In three career starts against the Twins, Houck is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA. He has walked five and struck out 17 in 17 1/3 innings.

Minnesota will counter with right-hander Chris Paddack (2-1, 5.88), who is set to make his sixth start of the season. He has earned the victory in each of his past two starts, although he allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings in his most recent outing against the Angels.

Paddack has faced Boston only once in his career, and it did not go well. He gave up six runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings, leaving him with an 0-1 record and a 23.14 ERA against the Red Sox.

Red Sox infielder Vaughn Grissom is expected to be activated from the injured list before Friday’s game and be available to play against the Twins. Grissom coped with a right hamstring injury and a groin injury in spring training that sidelined him for the first month of the season, and he recently took part in an injury rehabilitation assignment in the minors.

The Red Sox acquired Grissom from the Braves in December as part of a deal that sent veteran left-hander Chris Sale to Atlanta. The 23-year-old Grissom hit .287 with five homers, 27 RBIs and five stolen bases in 64 career games with the Braves.

–Field Level Media

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