BOSTON — Joe Ryan let control issues get the best of him during a chilly season-opening loss to Seattle.
The rookie Twins right-hander took advantage of pristine weather in his second start of the season to tame the Red Sox in his first visit to Fenway Park.
Ryan allowed one run over six innings, Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer, and Minnesota beat the Red Sox 8-4 Friday in Boston’s home opener.
With Fenway at full capacity for the first time since 2019, Ryan (1-1) – the Twins’ opening day starter who made four appearances last year but retained his rookie status – kept the Red Sox off balance with his pinpoint slider, striking out seven and walking none. He threw 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes and gave up a second-inning homer to Alex Verdugo.
“It’s a nice pitch to have and I like where it’s coming in,” Ryan said.
He also showed poise in working out a jam. With the Twins leading 4-1, Boston got two on with one out in the fourth. But Ryan got Verdugo to ground into a double play.
“That was huge,” Ryan said. “Obviously, what you’re looking for there.”
Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta (0-2) lasted only two innings, allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. In his two starts this season, he’s surrendered nine hits, eight runs and three homers over 7 2/3 innings.
“He didn’t have command, his stuff wasn’t there,” manager Alex Cora said.
Trailing 6-1 in the eighth, Boston pulled within 6-4 when Kike Hernandez hit an RBI double off Jhoan Durant and Rafael Devers followed with a two-run homer. Durant settled down after that, striking out Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.
“When we got close we walked too many people,” Cora said. “They put the ball in play. Overall, it wasn’t great.”
The Twins scored two runs in the ninth against Matt Barnes.
“Our guys being able to go out there and have some good at-bats late in the game and add two runs to the scoreboard – that’s the difference between winning and losing a lot of games,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Minnesota benefited from some shaky Boston defense to take the early lead.
Byron Buxton lifted a popup to shallow left in the first inning that Verdugo lost in the sun, allowing Buxton to slide safely into second for a double.
Buxton got his leg caught underneath him as he popped up and slammed his hand into the dirt in frustration. The oft-injured player was immediately pulled with what the team said was right knee soreness. Gordon replaced him and scored on a single by Arraez.
Sano’s homer made it 3-0 in the second. Then, with two outs, Gordon singled to center and scored on a double by Arraez.
Verdugo’s second homer of the season got Boston on the board in the second.
The Twins got two more runs in the fifth when Sanchez dropped in a two-run single off reliever Hirokazu Sawamura.
Twins: Buxton was sent for an MRI following his injury.
Red Sox: Left-hander Chris Sale is back in Boston as he continues to work his way back from a stress fracture in his rib cage that will leave him sidelined until at least June. He has resumed throwing long toss.
Bogaerts acknowledged he’d seen a New York Post report detailing a four-year, $90 million contract extension offer the club made to keep him from opting out of his six-year, $120 million deal after this season.
No agreement was reached and he said for now he’s referring any additional questions about the apparent stalemate to agent Scott Boras. Bogaerts’ current deal will pay him $20 million per season beginning in 2023 if he opts in. But he’s expected to seek a better offer on the open market.
“I’ve got a season coming up in front of me and I don’t want to put any of our teammates in that type of distraction,” Bogaerts said. “They don’t deserve it. We had time to get something done. It didn’t work out.”
Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (0-0, 3.86 ERA) allowed two runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings last week against Seattle. This will be his ninth start against Boston and first since 2018 when he was with the Yankees.
Red Sox: RHP Tanner Houck (0-0, 8.10) gave up three runs over 3 1/3 innings in his first start this season, last week against the Yankees.