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Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published April 25 2012

Red Sox hold on to top Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – Mike Aviles homered and the Boston Red Sox bullpen just barely avoided another big collapse in a 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

Alfredo Aceves struck out Denard Span with the bases loaded in the ninth inning for his fourth save in six chances as the Red Sox completed the sweep.

Dustin Pedroia tripled, doubled and singled for the Red Sox. The Twins have dropped five in a row.

Clay Buchholz (2-1) had another shaky outing for the Red Sox, giving up five runs on 10 hits with three walks in 5Zc innings.

The Red Sox led 7-1 after five innings, but their beleaguered bullpen was able to hang on with 3Xc scoreless innings of relief.

Aceves walked Trevor Plouffe, gave up a hit to Ryan Doumit and hit Alexi Casilla in a tense ninth inning. But he got Span to chase a pitch up and out of the zone to escape the jam.

Joe Mauer had two hits and two RBIs and Anthony Swarzak pitched three innings of scoreless relief to keep the Twins in the game after another terrible outing from their starting pitcher.

Liam Hendriks (0-1) gave up seven runs on nine hits and two walks in four innings.

Aviles hit a three-run homer in the second inning and the Red Sox were cruising with a six-run lead heading into the sixth. But after the Sox blew a 9-0 lead against the Yankees on Saturday, no one was taking anything for granted.

Buchholz needed all the cushion he could get, and so did the Boston bullpen, which entered the night with the worst ERA in the American League. Buchholz carried a 9.00 ERA into the game, with his confidence in his changeup shaken and still smarting from giving up five home runs in a 6-2 loss to the Yankees.

Buchholz danced in and out of trouble for the first five innings, stranding eight runners on base before getting knocked out in the sixth. The right-hander gave up an RBI double to Span and left after walking Jamey Carroll in the sixth.

Boston Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Aviles ss 4 1 1 3 Span cf 6 1 2 1

Sweeny rf 4 0 1 0 JCarrll ss 3 1 0 0

Pedroia 2b 4 2 3 0 Mauer c 5 1 2 2

AdGnzl 1b 3 1 1 1 Mornea dh 5 0 2 1

Ortiz dh 3 1 0 0 Parmel 1b 2 0 1 0

Youkils 3b 4 1 1 0 Valnci pr-3b 1 0 0 0

Sltlmch c 4 0 1 2 Plouffe rf 4 0 1 1

Ross lf 3 1 1 1 Brrhs 3b-1b 4 0 0 0

DMcDn lf 1 0 0 0 Doumit ph 1 0 1 0

Byrd cf 4 0 1 0 Revere lf 5 2 2 0

ACasill 2b 4 1 3 1

Totals 34 7 10 7 Totals 40 6 14 6

Boston 042 010 000— 7

Minnesota 010 005 000— 6

DP—Boston 1, Minnesota 2. LOB—Boston 2, Minnesota 13. 2B—Pedroia (5), Span (6), Morneau (4), Revere (1). 3B—Pedroia (1). HR—Aviles (4). SB—A.Casilla (3).

IP H R ER BB SO

Boston

Buchholz W,2-1 5Zc 10 5 5 3 2

Atchison 0 1 1 1 0 0

J.Thomas 0 1 0 0 0 0

Albers H,1 Xc 1 0 0 0 0

Padilla H,1 1 0 0 0 0 1

F.Morales H,4 1 0 0 0 0 1

Aceves S,4-6 1 1 0 0 1 1

Minnesota

Hendriks L,0-1 4 9 7 7 2 3

Swarzak 3 1 0 0 0 1

Perkins 1 0 0 0 0 3

Burton 1 0 0 0 0 1

Hendriks pitched to 2 batters in the 5th.

Atchison pitched to 1 batter in the 6th.

J.Thomas pitched to 2 batters in the 6th.

HBP—by J.Thomas (Parmelee), by Aceves (A.Casilla).

T—3:32. A—32,254 (39,500).