- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - The first-place Minnesota Twins didn’t have many opportunities against Boston pitchers. And they failed to capitalize on two they got.

That lack of timely hitting contributed to a 6-3 defeat to the Red Sox on Wednesday, one day after the AL Central leaders lost 1-0 in the start of a four-game series.

“We tried to hang in there,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said after the opener of a day-night doubleheader. “We had an opportunity in the eighth.”

That was when Joe Mauer pinch hit with one out and runners at first and third. He hit a hard shot to first baseman Mike Napoli, who stepped on the bag and threw to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who tagged Brian Dozier to complete a double play.

Dozier could have gotten in a rundown, giving Danny Santana time to score from third. Or Santana could have run harder.

“I don’t think Danny ran probably as hard as he could,” Molitor said. “I was kind of watching more what Brian was going to do. We were yelling ‘hold up.’ “

The way Rodriguez (2-0) pitched, the Twins couldn’t afford to waste chances.

The hard-throwing left-hander gave up one run and two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. Seven days earlier in a 5-1 win at Texas, he left after giving up three hits in 7 2-3 shutout innings.

He is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to throw at least seven innings, allow no more than three hits and no more than one run in each of his first two outings.

“He’s a pleasure to watch,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “A special kid.”

Rodriguez was surprised when Baltimore traded him for reliever Andrew Miller at last year’s trade deadline.

“But,” he said, “look at where I am right now. Now I’m going to say thanks to them.”

Rodriguez allowed just a solo homer by Brian Dozier in the third and an infield single by Santana in the sixth. Alexi Ogando gave up a two-run homer to Eduardo Escobar in the ninth.

“Rodriguez was as good as advertised,” Paul Molitor said.

The game was a makeup for Monday night’s rainout.

The Red Sox scored five runs in 4 1-3 innings against Phil Hughes (4-5). Mike Napoli added a solo homer, his ninth of the season, in the seventh against Michael Tonkin, making it 6-1.

Dustin Pedroia had four singles, Xander Bogaerts added three and David Ortiz had two doubles.

“It’s not very fun when you feel like you’re just constantly trying to battle out of jams,” Hughes said.

After going 1-6 on a trip, Boston got its second outstanding pitching performance against Minnesota, which won seven of eight games before losing two straight to the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz allowed three hits in eight innings in a 1-0 Red Sox win Tuesday night.

TWINS MOVES

Minnesota called up right-hander Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester as the 26th player on the roster for the doubleheader. The Twins activated OF Oswaldo Arcia from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Rochester.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco is expected to throw Thursday after leaving Sunday’s game against Toronto in the second inning when he felt pain in his right ankle. He is not on the disabled list.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson, a top prospect, was scratched from his Triple-A start Wednesday to get extra rest. In 10 starts with Pawtucket, he is 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA. “There’s a typical approach taken with all starters there where they’ll skip a start at some point,” Boston manager John Farrell said.

UP NEXT

Twins: LHP Tommy Milone (2-1) pitches in the finale of the four-game series Thursday night, his first appearance for Minnesota since being sent to Triple-A Rochester on May 1. Milone allowed five runs in four innings in his most recent start with the Twins, picking up his only loss.

Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (2-2) makes his fourth start this season for Boston in place of Justin Masterson, who is on the disabled list. In his last start, the knuckleballer allowed two homers to Josh Hamilton in a 7-4 loss at Texas.

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