BOSTON — Mitch Garver hit a tiebreaking RBI double with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Minnesota Twins held on to beat the Boston Red Sox 2-1 on Thursday night.
Kyle Gibson (5-7) held Boston to four hits and one run in eight innings. Fernando Rodney surrendered a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases in the ninth, but he struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. to complete the five-hitter and earn his 22nd save in 27 opportunities.
The Twins have won four straight. Boston has lost three of five. Its lead in the AL East fell to 4½ games over the New York Yankees, who beat Kansas City on Thursday.
Boston’s Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes (3-3) combined to give up four hits and both of Minnesota’s runs after Hembree relieved starter Brian Johnson in the sixth.
Johnson allowed three hits in the first inning. He then retired 14 straight before surrendering a walk in the sixth.
His night ended after 5 2/3 innings, in which he allowed four hits and struck out five. It was one of the best starts in the major leagues for Johnson, who’s worked mostly out of the bullpen this season. He threw a five-hit shutout against Seattle last May.
Johnson will now head back to the bullpen after Boston acquired Nathan Eovaldi from Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox took the lead in the second on Mookie Betts’ double-play grounder, and it held up until the seventh, when Minnesota also scored on a double play.
Eddie Rosario was thrown out at home in the sixth on a relay that went from Bradley to Rafael Devers to Brock Holt to catcher Blake Swihart. Bradley also threw out Mauer at home in the first.
TRAINER’S ROOM: Twins: Manager Paul Molitor said right-hander Addison Reed (right elbow impingement) is headed to Triple-A Rochester to begin a rehab assignment. Molitor said the plan is for Reed to make at least two starts there. He hasn’t pitched since July 10. “It just seems to be the proper thing for him to do long-term,” Molitor said.
Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said LHP Eduardo Rodriguez will be checked out by doctors in the next few days. Rodriguez remains in a walking boot after spraining his right ankle on July 14.
UP NEXT: Twins: Lance Lynn (7-8, 5.23 ERA) is set to make his second start of the season and against the Red Sox on Friday. He is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in four career starts against Boston.
Red Sox: Chris Sale (11-4, 2.13 ERA) has recorded 57 strikeouts while allowing one run over his last five starts.