5/15/2014 1:28 A.M. ET
Owens tosses four hitless frames in Double-A start
By Ian Browne and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Left-hander Henry Owens, the Red Sox's No. 1 prospect, threw four hitless innings for Double-A Portland on Wednesday, but a high pitch count ended his night early. With Owens out of the game, New Britain scored four unanswered runs off Portland's bullpen and won, 4-3, in walk-off fashion.
Owens, ranked No. 27 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, struck out eight batters and walked five in four scoreless innings. He threw 87 pitches, prompting his quick exit from the game.
Right-hander Noe Ramirez relieved Owens and gave up a hit with two outs in the fifth inning, ending the no-hit bid.
Owens took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his last start, only to see it get broken up with one out. He walked five batters in that game as well, but worked more efficiently, throwing 96 pitches in 7 2/3 innings. He also threw a six-inning no-hitter on Opening Day in a game that was shortened by rain.
In eight starts this season, Owens has a 3.30 ERA. The 21-year old has struck out 49 batters and walked 23 in 46 1/3 innings.
Ortiz passes Rice on Red Sox homer list
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Red Sox still trying to find that elusive groove, star slugger David Ortiz has found his.
The designated hitter went deep again on Wednesday night, launching home run No. 383 in a Boston uniform. That moved him past Hall of Famer Jim Rice and into sole possession of third place on the club's all-time list.
Ortiz hit another solo homer in the game and ended up going 3-for-5 in the 9-4 victory over the Twins.
Ortiz trails Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452), two first-ballot Hall of Famers.
Big Papi roped two home runs on Tuesday as part of a 4-for-5, four-RBI performance.
Ortiz came out of the gate swinging on Wednesday, crushing a double to the gap in right-center in his first at-bat and ripping a solo homer in the top of the third. In his eight games prior to Wednesday, Ortiz had a .452 average.
Not only is Ortiz belting the baseball, but he is exuding some swagger.
"It speaks to the way he feels in the box right now," said manager John Farrell. "Even the first pitch he saw, he fouls a fastball straight back. It was interesting listening to his comments before his first at-bat unfolded as he was watching Dustin Pedroia's at-bat unfold. He's in a pretty good place, obviously. As the weather has warmed, David has warmed, and that exudes confidence regardless of what pitch he's addressing inside an at-bat."
Everyone knows that when Ortiz is hot, he is capable of carrying the offense.
"What can I tell you? I've got to stick with the plan. We face the best of the best coming out of everybody and in my case I just have to patient," said Ortiz. "I told you, the weather get hot, Papi gets hot."
Speaking of Ortiz, he gained a hit before getting to the ballpark on Wednesday as his bloop against Yu Darvish in the seventh inning on Friday night -- initially ruled an error on Alex Rios -- was reversed.
"I think it was a hit in the moment," said Farrell. "Upon further review, obviously, they change it. I think in the end, the right call has been had."
Farrell remaining patient with young players
MINNEAPOLIS -- The three young players in Boston's starting lineup -- Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- have all been struggling of late. However, manager John Farrell is preaching the importance of patience in all three cases.
"These are our guys," Farrell said. "That's what I'll continue to stress. They need to feel the support and confidence from us as a staff, me included, to help them get through their times when things might not be clicking as well as they or we would like. That's where giving them opportunity allows them to work through it."
Is there a certain point the Red Sox need to consider alternatives if the players are still slumping?
"I don't know that there's a breaking point," said Farrell. "We fully acknowledge and accept that there was going to be some peaks and valleys with guys along the way. But we still go back to the abilities that each possess and their work ethic. Those are going to be ingredients that are going to allow a guy to perform with some dependability."
Middlebrooks, who is the most experienced of the trio, took a .197 average into Wednesday's game.
"Will has been in a little bit of a streak here where he's searching a little bit," said Farrell. "We need them to perform to their abilities and contribute to be the team that we can fully envision us being."
Bogaerts and Bradley, both rookies, are hitting .252 and .219 respectively.
"In Jackie's case, his approach is improving with each game," Farrell said. "He's picking out certain pitches he's addressed early in the count, such as in the seventh inning last night. He's trusting what his eyes are telling him inside a given game, how certain pitchers are going about an attack plan and taking note of the hitters prior to his at-bat. We're seeing that grow. And yet, we know that that's all part of that process of becoming established Major League players."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.