MINNEAPOLIS -- The Red Sox bullpen was more tapped out than a kegger at a beer league softball game.
So Francona put the load on the broad shoulders of Jon Lester, all but telling him, "Your game, big boy. Go as deep as you can."
It helped that the Minnesota Twins kept running into outs on the bases, and Lester kept the ball in the infield all night. No fly ball outs, and five hits through seven -- only one, a double by Joe Mauer in the sixth, for extra bases.
An unearned run in the seventh delivered by Marco Scutaro's two-out single, and David Ortiz's second home run in three nights in the eighth, and the Sox took a 2-all tie into the bottom of the eighth.
But the Twins made Lester pay for his fifth walk of the night, a leadoff pass to Mauer that became the go-ahead run when Jim Thome doubled over the head of Carl Crawford. The Twins added on against Alfredo Aceves, and Francona's placement of Mike Aviles into right field that inning misfired when he let a catchable ball sail over him.
So the Red Sox ended their only visit here with two wins in three games. Now a day off Thursday in Seattle, then three games this weekend against the Mariners.
Ortiz's home run, a 419-foot shot into the visitors' bullpen, was his 23rd home run of the season, 7th off a lefty, and the first allowed this season in 178 plate appearances by left-hander Glen Perkins.
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 255th career save, passing Rick Aguilera for the top spot on the Twins' all-time list.
The Sox, who began the night 2 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East, had their lead trimmed to 1 1/2 by the Bombers, who beat the Angels on Wednesday night. Their biggest lead of the season is three games.
The win ended a four-game win streak for the Sox and a six-game losing streak for the Twins.