Streak breaker: Kepler singles in 9th, as Twins edge Red Sox

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Minnesota Twins' Max Kepler, center with helmet, celebrates with his team after driving in the winning run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Twins won 4-3. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

MINNEAPOLIS – Max Kepler delivered the sigh-of-relief winner for Minnesota on the last day of a rough first homestand of the season.

The Boston Red Sox relentlessly kept the Twins from being comfortable all series.

Kepler's bloop RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Minnesota a 4-3 victory Thursday over Boston — stopping a five-game losing streak for the Twins and breaking a nine-game winning string for the Red Sox.

“It's impossible to go out and play baseball and not feel it when it’s going really well or when it’s not going really well. It’s really how you harness that,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Luis Arraez, ever the team sparkplug, let those emotions loose as he raced home on Kepler's hit off Adam Ottavino (1-1) and belly-flopped into home plate.

“It’s a tough week, but we won the game,” said Arraez, who went 4 for 5 with a two-run single. “I think it’s a good start for us.”

The Twins avoided matching their longest losing streak in three years under Baldelli, a six-game slide from July 31-Aug. 5, 2020.

The Red Sox, who tied it in the eighth on Alex Verdugo's three-run double, were on their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2018, the season they won the World Series.