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Dave Campbell / Associated Press, Published April 23 2012

Ross' homers doom Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins couldn’t hold a late lead. Both starter Jason Marquis and reliever Matt Capps were culpable in coughing that up.

But yet again they left runners stranded on base at the most important times.

Cody Ross homered twice, tying the game with a two-run shot in the seventh inning and giving Boston the lead with two outs in the ninth to snap a five-game losing streak for the Red Sox in their 6-5 victory over Minnesota on Monday night.

Starter-turned-temporary-reliever Daniel Bard (1-2) recorded two critical outs in the eighth after the Twins put the leadoff batter on third. Alfredo Aceves picked up the save, his third in five tries, and all was right with the reeling Red Sox for at least one night.

Aceves gave up a one-out single and a high drive to the warning track in left-center to Trevor Plouffe, but Denard Span bounced back to the mound to end it.

“I knew I got it up in the air, and I was wishing it over the fence. But definitely didn’t think I absolutely got it,” Plouffe said. “It was one of those ones where it was going to be just barely over the fence, or he was going to catch it.”

The Twins are 8-for-47 with runners in scoring position over their last five games, an average of .170.

“We put ourselves in good situations and have opportunities, but lately we haven’t really been coming through. Teams that win games, they hit in those situations,” Plouffe said.

Ryan Sweeney misplayed Jamey Carroll’s single into a two-base error that put him at third with none out in that pivotal eighth, after the ball bounded down the right-field line, ricocheted off the padded facade of the seats in foul territory and skidded away.

But Franklin Morales got Joe Mauer to ground out weakly to first base, and Bard retired two of the three batters he faced sandwiched around an intentional walk to Justin Morneau. Josh Willingham greeted Bard with a sharp line drive, but it zipped straight at third baseman Kevin Youkilis for the second out.

Then Ross put the Red Sox in front with his drive off Capps (0-1), who threw a 92 mph, 0-1 fastball at the kneecaps.

“That’s where I wanted the pitch to go,” Capps said.

Jon Lester lasted seven innings for the Red Sox. Danny Valencia’s two-run homer, his first of the season, followed Ryan Doumit’s two-run double in a four-run fourth for the Twins. Then Plouffe drew a leadoff walk in the fifth, Span singled and a run scored when Carroll grounded into a double play.

Boston Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Aviles ss 4 1 1 0 Span cf 4 0 1 0

Sweeny rf 4 0 2 0 JCarrll ss 4 0 1 0

Pedroia 2b 4 0 2 0 Mauer c 3 1 2 0

AdGnzl 1b 3 0 0 1 Wlngh dh 3 1 0 0

Ortiz dh 4 0 2 0 Mornea 1b 3 0 0 0

Youkils 3b 4 1 0 0 Doumit rf 4 1 2 2

Sltlmch c 4 2 2 2 Valenci 3b 4 1 1 2

C.Ross lf 4 2 2 3 Parmel lf 4 0 1 0

Byrd cf 4 0 1 0 CThms pr 0 0 0 0

Plouffe 2b 3 1 0 0

Totals 35 6 12 6 Totals 32 5 8 4

Boston 120 000 201— 6

Minnesota 000 410 000— 5

E—Aviles (3), Sweeney (1). DP—Boston 3, Minnesota 2. LOB—Boston 3, Minnesota 5. 2B—Sweeney (8), Doumit (1). HR—Saltalamacchia (2), C.Ross 2 (5), Valencia (1). CS—Pedroia (1). SF—Ad.Gonzalez.

IP H R ER BB SO

Boston

Lester 7 6 5 5 4 4

F.Morales Zc 1 0 0 0 0

Bard W,1-2 Xc 0 0 0 1 0

Aceves S,3-5 1 1 0 0 0 0

Minnesota

Marquis 6Zc 11 5 5 0 3

Burton 1 0 0 0 0 1

Duensing Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Capps L,0-1 1 1 1 1 0 0

T—3:12. A—32,351 (39,500).