Rookie center fielder Luis Robert connected on his first career homer, a 419-foot shot to center in the fifth inning against Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda on Sunday.
Maeda held the Sox scoreless through four innings, and the Twins were in full control leading 10-0 in the fifth when Robert went deep with Adam Engel on base.
“I feel good just to have the first one out of the way,” Robert said through a translator. “It’s a relief. I feel good and I know there’s going to be more to come.”
Robert had four hits, including the homer and a double in his first 11 major-league at-bats (.364) in this series. His first hit, a single in the season opener, had an exit velocity of 115.8 mph, the highest on a first hit of any player since Statcast began. The exit velocity on the homer was 111.4.
Robert said he is not in awe of major-league pitching and felt comfortable his first series.
“I’ve been feeling good at home plate, good in the outfield, good with the team,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty comfortable at this level. If I have to make an adjustment when I need to, I will do it.”
Moncada sits one out
The Sox took on the Twins without third baseman Yoan Moncada in the starting lineup.
Manager Rick Renteria had said Moncada would be getting days off sooner than later because of his short ramp-up to the season. Danny Mendick started in Moncada’s place and Nicky Delmonico batted second in Moncada’s spot in the batting order. Delmonico was 0-for-9 with a walk in the series.
Moncada is dealing with arm soreness that players normally work through in spring training. It might be attributed to inactivity before his late arrival to camp after opening on the injured list because of a positive (asymptomatic) coronavirus test. Moncada has a history of hamstring issues and Renteria doesn’t want to overload his legs too soon.
Renteria said his “expectation and hope” is that Moncada plays all three games against the Indians.
“We want to make sure we give him the best chance to get through the whole year and I don’t want to put him in a situation that sets him back,” Renteria said.
An eight-game road trip through Cleveland, Kansas City and Milwaukee is next, and Renteria said he is trusting his players to be smart.
“I’m very fortunate in that the players themselves have taken it upon their own honor to monitor and hold each other accountable to protecting themselves when we get on the road,” he said.
“I won’t tell you what measures they are going to take for that but they have sat down and had serious conversations about everybody being mindful and respectful to keep the whole as a part of their thinking before and if they want to go out and do something that might put them in a compromised position.”
This and that
Engel had three hits, including two doubles, off the bench.
• Defending AL batting champ Tim Anderson (0-for-5) was 2-for-14 in the series.
• Right-hander Kelvin Herrera allowed four runs on three hits, including two homers Sunday.
• Monday’s starter Dylan Cease allowed four runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts in his only appearance against the Indians, last Sept. 9 at Cleveland.