Joe Mauer's two-out, three-run blast in 9th lifts Twins over Red Sox
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BOSTON -- Joe Mauer showed the patience of a good hitter and followed that with the skill of one of the game's best.
Mauer hit a three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, lifting the Minnesota Twins to a 6-4 comeback win over the struggling Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
With the Twins trailing 4-3 and runners on second and third, Mauer took a pitch just off the plate from closer Alfredo Aceves (2-7) before belting a 3-2 pitch into the Green Monster seats.
''I think I started laughing in the dugout,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''There's not too many guys that can take that pitch, but he's won a lot of batting titles.''
Mauer, a three-time AL batting champ and 2009 AL MVP, was just prepared for something fast and saw what he expected.
''I was just trying to be on time for a fastball,'' he said. ''He threw me a lot of nasty pitches that at-bat. He's got a good change and a good curveball. I just wanted to make sure I was on time for a fastball in case I got it, and I got it.''
Mauer is hitting .320 with seven homers and 53 RBIs.
Ben Revere had three singles and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 18 games for Minnesota, which has won the first three games of a four-game series. The Twins have the AL's second-worst record.
Pedro Ciriaco hit a pinch-hit homer for the first of his career, breaking an eighth-inning tie and giving the Red Sox the lead before Mauer's homer.
Mike Aviles had a solo homer and Carl Crawford an RBI double for Boston, which has lost four straight.
Ciriaco, who had consecutive game-winning hits in New York against the Yankees on July 28 and 29, hit a 1-0 pitch from Glen Perkins into the seats above the Green Monster after the Twins tied the game in the top of the inning.
Aceves entered with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth, allowing Justin Morneau's game-tying sacrifice fly before getting the next two batters.Ciriaco was serenaded with chants of ''Pedro! Pedro!'' after hitting his homer and came out for a curtain call. Cody Ross' RBI single off Burnett made it 4-2.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz gave up one unearned run over seven innings despite three errors - two by himself, allowing seven hits and striking out three.
Minnesota starter Cole De Vries, making his 10th major league start, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
Trailing by one in the eighth, the Twins loaded the bases against Andrew Miller on two walks and an infield hit before Aceves entered the game.
"We had one great job by Aceves in the eighth and then leakage in the ninth,'' Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "Andrew Miller has just been terrific against left-handers. Just flying open a little too much tonight."
In the ninth, Jamey Carroll, who went 4-for-4 with a game-winning single and reached base five times in Friday's win, had an RBI single. Revere had a two-out single. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Mauer's homer.
Aceves didn't think the pitch was off the plate.
''Why don't you ask the umpire how big he missed the pitch before? Ask him,'' he said.
Alex Burnett (4-3) got one out in the eighth for the win. Jared Burton worked the ninth for his fifth save.
When Boston pinch hitter Will Middlebrooks popped out for the final out, loud boos rained down from the stands.
''They're all devastating now,'' Boston's Nick Punto said. ''You get this late in the season and you look at the standings and we're not really sitting in a great position. Wild card, there's a lot of teams. We can't afford to lose games like that.''
• Monday: at Cleveland, 6:05 p.m. Twins LHP Scott Diamond (9-5, 2.93 earned-run average) vs. Indians RHP Zach McAllister (4-3, 3.42).
• Tuesday: at Cleveland, 6:05 p.m. Twins RHP Sam Deduno (3-0, 2.48) vs. Indians RHP Corey Kluber (0-0, 12.46).
• Wednesday: at Cleveland, 11:05 a.m. Twins LHP Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.39) vs. Indians RHP Justin Masterson (7-10, 4.78).