MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins built a big lead with their offense, and then turned to their defense to preserve it.
Jacque Jones had three hits and scored three runs, and Brad Radke won his third consecutive start as the Twins held off the Boston Red Sox 9-8 on Sunday night.
The Red Sox rallied from a 9-1 deficit and made it a one-run game with two runners on in the ninth inning. Eddie Guardado got Bill Mueller to ground to shortstop Cristian Guzman, and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz made a diving stretch to corral the throw for the final out.
"I've seen him make that play quite a few times," Radke said of Mientkiewicz, who won a Gold Glove in 2001. "If they call that play 'safe,' who knows what would have happened."
The Twins won two of three in the series, and 10 of their last 12 overall.
Radke (4-3) gave up five runs and 10 hits, including three solo homers, in 6 1-3 innings.
He retired 14 of his first 15 hitters before Mueller homered with two outs in the fifth. Radke departed after giving up four consecutive hits in the seventh, including back-to-back homers by Jeremy Giambi and Jason Varitek.
Giambi finished with four hits, including two homers, helping the Red Sox get back into it.
"We certainly showed tonight we're not going to quit in a ballgame, even from the biggest deficit," Boston manager Grady Little said.
Guardado pitched the ninth for his eighth save in as many opportunities -- his first since April 30.
And it was certainly an interesting one. Guardado retired the first two hitters, then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Shea Hillenbrand delivered a two-run single to cut the lead to 9-8.
"I felt fine," Guardado said. "I made good pitches, but when you make good pitches to good hitters, things like that happen."
The Twins jumped on Derek Lowe (3-3) early, building an 8-0 lead after four innings.
Minnesota's offense, which had been dormant for most of April, has produced at least five runs in 11 of the past 12 games. The Twins hit that mark by the second inning Sunday.
Matthew LeCroy sneaked a grounder between third baseman Mueller and the bag for a two-out RBI double in the first.
Luis Rivas' RBI double and Jones' two-run triple in the second scooted between first baseman Hillenbrand and the bag. Jones came home on Guzman's RBI groundout.
"It all starts with Jacque," Mientkiewicz said. "It always has, and it always will. When your leadoff hitter comes up and hits a bullet, it lifts everyone else up one notch."
Giambi dropped Guzman's fly to left with the bases loaded in the fourth inning for an error, opening the gates for three more runs.
Lowe left after the fourth, allowing 10 hits and eight runs, including six earned.
"The team has battled so much when I pitch," said Lowe, who is 1-3 with an 11.57 ERA away from home. "My road stats have been nothing but a struggle, but they just keep hitting."
Giambi and Varitek hit consecutive pitches from Radke into the upper deck in right field with one out in the seventh.
Johnny Damon and Todd Walker followed with singles, and LaTroy Hawkins replaced Radke. Hawkins gave up Manny Ramirez's ground-rule double, which cut the lead to 9-5, but struck out Trot Nixon to end the rally.
Giambi hit his second homer with two outs in the eighth off Hawkins.
Notes: Little said Pedro Martinez was still being evaluated after aggravating a groin injury Friday. His next scheduled start is Thursday against Texas. ... The value of backing up a play was evident in the top of the second, when 2B Rivas threw away Nixon's grounder. C A.J. Pierzynski backed up the play and nailed Nixon trying to advance to second base. ... Pierzynski appeared to turn his ankle awkwardly while stopping at third base in the second, but stayed in. ... Minnesota Wild players Andrew Brunette, Nick Schultz and Willie Mitchell attended the game and were given an ovation when shown on the video board.
Red Sox 6, Twins 5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Manny Ramirez had three hits and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with smart baserunning as the Boston Red Sox defeated Minnesota 6-5 Saturday night, ending the Twins' five-game winning streak.
Matthew LeCroy homered twice for the Twins.
Notes: Minnesota RF Bobby Kielty left the game in the sixth inning with a right ribcage strain. He is day-to-day. ... Walker's first-inning solo shot marked the first homer off Minnesota pitching in seven games, covering 70 innings.
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