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Gordon’s grand slam highlights Twins’ 10-5 victory over Red Sox

Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/31/2022 Phil Miller, Star Tribune
Nick Gordon of the Twins celebrates after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning Tuesday against the Red Sox. © Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS Nick Gordon of the Twins celebrates after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning Tuesday against the Red Sox.

About three hours before first pitch on Tuesday, Nick Gordon walloped a batting-practice gimme high into the cheap seats above right field, a blast so prodigious it got a reaction from his teammates surrounding the batting cage and some fans sitting nearby.

Big deal, right? It just proves that even the most lean and wiry infielder can put on a show in batting practice, against half-speed meatballs tossed by coaches.

Then he did it during the game, with the bases loaded, against a big-league pitcher whizzing 97-mph fastballs — and on an 0-and-2 count, no less. Gordon's fifth-inning grand slam capped a stellar six-RBI day for the Twins' utility man, and a 10-5 victory over the Red Sox.

It was the Twins' fifth consecutive victory, keeping them within 1½ games of the Guardians in the AL Central. And it represented an even bigger milestone for a franchise that has been housed in north downtown for 13 seasons now: With the victory, the Twins' record at Target Field, counting the (winless) postseason, is now 497-496 all-time, the first time the Twins have been above .500 at home since they were 109-108 on July 30, 2012.

"We've played great here. The support has been really great here," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of the Twins' home, where they are now 40-28 this season. "We've gotten our best efforts in this building, and I don't think it's by accident."

Just like it was no accident when Gordon helped the Twins immediate respond to losing their lead in the fifth inning. The Twins jumped to a quick three-run lead, thanks to Gordon's first big hit, a two-run double that one-hopped the wall in left-center, and Jake Cave's third home run of the season.

But Boston answered with two hits and a sacrifice fly by Xander Bogaerts in the fourth inning — an uprising that could have been worse if not for an inning-ending double play started by, yep, Gordon. And in the fifth, the Red Sox knocked starter Chris Archer, and eventually reliever Caleb Thielbar, out of the game with four hits in five at-bats, singles by Tommy Pham and Bogaerts driving in runs. A bases-loaded wild pitch by Michael Fulmer scored the go-ahead run, and it appeared the Twins would lose Archer's start for the ninth consecutive time.

Enter Gordon. First, Carlos Correa reached base when right fielder Alex Verdugo dropped a fly ball on the run for an error. Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford then walked Max Kepler, and reliever Ryan Brasier hit Jose Miranda with the first pitch he threw. That loaded the bases for Gordon, but the threat appeared minimal when he fouled off Brasier's first two pitches, each a fastball clocked at 96 mph or faster, to dig himself a two-strike hole.

Brasier tried a slider, which Gordon fouled off to stay alive, then went back to the fastball. This one got too much of the plate, however, and Gordon drove it 416 feet, near where his batting-practice beauty landed, for his sixth homer of the season and first career grand slam. It's only the sixth Twins grand slam on an 0-and-2 count in the past 35 seasons, and first since Eddie Rosario connected against the Rays' Sergio Romo on May 20, 2018.

The 19,909 roared in appreciation, and gave Gordon a standing ovation as he took his position for the sixth inning.

But the Twins, having outscored the Giants and Red Sox by 34-12 in the five days since dragging themselves home from Houston, weren't done scoring. Gary Sanchez hit a solo home run into the third deck in left field in the sixth inning, and Luis Arraez and Correa each singled home runs in the eighth to help the Twins reach double digits for the first time since June 27 in Cleveland.

BOXSCORE: Twins 10, Boston 5

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