For Aaron Hicks, the last swing's the thing to beat Boston

 

As Aaron Hicks rounded first on his game-winning, two-out RBI single in the 10th inning Thursday, he high-stepped his way toward second with his arms flailing.

The 24-year-old center fielder stopped to stare, yell at his teammates as they emptied the dugout and spike his batting helmet in the Twins’ 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Target Field.

That poor helmet took the brunt of Hicks’ pent-up frustration this season, vented in a split second in the celebration following his first career walk-off hit.

“A lot of stress did [release]; I think I might have broke that [helmet],” Hicks said. “That was just how much I love and appreciate this game. To come up with a big hit like that against a great team, especially with the way things were going, it definitely means a lot to me to come [through] in the clutch for my team.”

Only 48 hours earlier, Hicks sat in Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s office to discuss his daily approach to the game. He was publicly criticized by Gardenhire and Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony on Wednesday for his lack of preparation, which they felt was reflected in Hicks’ .167 batting average entering Thursday’s game.

After a one-out double down the left field line by Kurt Suzuki and a strikeout by Chris Parmelee (who hit a two-run homer in the second), Hicks worked Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller to a full count after falling behind 1-2. On the sixth pitch, Hicks hit a soft line drive to left to score Suzuki from second and give the Twins their second walk-off victory this season — both in this three-game series, both with Miller on the mound.

“[Hicks] took some great pitches; that was tough,” Gardenhire said. “[Miller] is filthy. … For him to get two losses here is pretty amazing, to tell you the truth.”

Hicks’ triumphant moment was a result of closer Glen Perkins’ second blown save this season, stopping a 10-game consecutive save streak. Up 3-1 with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth, third baseman Will Middlebrooks grooved a two-run single to right that tied the score.

The blown save gave Phil Hughes a no-decision and stopped his four-game winning streak after recording a career-high eight strikeouts against the defending World Series champions. He allowed one run on five hits in six innings, and it was his fifth consecutive start of at least six innings. He has not allowed a walk in the past four games (119 batters).

“He’s not really throwing a lot of breaking balls or anything like that; he’s keeps pounding in and out and locating the heck out of it,” Gardenhire said. “Against a team like that, that’s pretty doggone good.”

Hughes held the Red Sox’s 3-4-5 hitters — designated hitter David Ortiz, first baseman Mike Napoli and right fielder Jonny Gomes — to a collective 1-for-9 at the plate with two strikeouts. Ortiz dominated his former team in the first two games of this series, going 7-for-10 with four home runs and six RBI, but he finished only 1-for-4 in the rubber match.

“They’re tough; up and down, they’ve got some guys who can hurt you,” Hughes said. “Obviously, Ortiz had a big series. You just try to limit the damage and make sure there aren’t too many guys on base when you’re facing the middle of the order.”

Reliever Brian Duensing (1-1) earned the victory after pitching a scoreless 10th inning.

It was the Twins’ fifth game in the past 10 decided by one run, and they are 4-1 in those five games. They’ve also have consecutive series victories over the Red Sox, the defending champions, and the Tigers, the defending American League Central winners.

“We’ve lost a lot of baseball games over the last three years, so you have to earn respect,” Gardenhire said. “And that’s what our baseball team is trying to do. We’re trying to earn respect around here.”

  • twins 4, boston 3 (10)

    Up next: 7:10 tonight vs. Seattle • Target Field • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close