MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Pelfrey was sharp for seven innings, Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the first, and the Minnesota Twins held on Tuesday night to beat the Boston Red Sox, 2-1.

After rain delayed the game’s first pitch for 1 hour, 21 minutes, Minnesota jumped on Clay Buchholz (2-6) for three doubles and two runs in the first.

That was enough support for Pelfrey (4-1), who retired the last seven batters he faced and lowered his ERA to 2.77. Pelfrey allowed five hits and struck out four.

Glen Perkins got Hanley Ramirez to fly to right field with the bases loaded to end the eighth. He stayed in and worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in as many chances.

Mike Napoli’s single in the second scored David Ortiz for Boston’s run. The Red Sox have totaled 14 runs in their last eight road games.

After Pelfrey struck out Ramirez in the fourth, Ramirez whacked the bench in the dugout with his bat. In the sixth, half of Ramirez’s bat went flying into the stands after it broke on a soft liner to shortstop.


Buchholz settled down after the first and lasted 71/3 innings to notch Boston’s 10th quality start in 13 games.

The Twins have won 18 of their last 24 games and 11 of 13 at home. Their 17 wins in May are the most in the American League and most for the month of May since they won 16 in 2011.

NOTES: In his second rehab outing at Triple-A Rochester as he recovers from a shoulder injury, reliever Casey Fien of the Twins needed just 10 pitches to get through a scoreless inning. … Both teams will be back on the field at 1 p.m. Wednesday to wrap up the three-game series. Twins right-hander Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.50) will be trying for his third straight quality start. Right-hander Rick Porcello (4-3, 5.07) goes for Boston and is 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA in his last eight starts at Minnesota.

SLIP OF THE TONGUE or refreshing candor? You be the judge.

Asked Monday about switch-hitting third baseman Pablo Sandoval electing to bat left-handed Sunday against a left-handed pitcher, Red Sox Manager John Farrell had this to say: “I thought it was really encouraging – or interesting, not encouraging, interesting – to see him go left-on-left. Whether that’s a sign of things to come, we’ll see.”

Sandoval was back in the Red Sox lineup Monday after not starting five consecutive games because of a bruised left knee. With right-hander Ricky Nolasco starting for the Twins, Sandoval went 0 for 4 from the left side of the plate, far and away his stronger side. He’s hitting .353 in 102 left-handed at-bats compared to .049 (2 for 41) right-handed.

Despite the disparity, Sandoval said two weeks ago he wasn’t considering ditching switch hitting. And until he batted left-handed against Los Angeles Angels lefty reliever Cesar Ramos in a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning Sunday, he had batted left-on-left only four previous times, going 0 for 3 with the only sacrifice of his career.

Farrell said the Red Sox have spoken recently about having Sandoval bat exclusively left-handed, with Sandoval even initiating the conversation at times.

Ultimately, though, Farrell said the decision rests with the player, who, after all, is the one in the batter’s box.

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