By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — If anyone on the Red Sox is built to play a pair of 7-inning games, it’s Alex Verdugo. The 24-year-old is a ball of energy, and on Wednesday, he had himself a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins.

Verdugo did it with his bat and his glove, helping the Red Sox sweep their twin bill against the Twins for the team’s eighth and ninth straight wins. He went 5-for-8 at the plate between the two games, driving in three runs and scoring a pair of his own.

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Verdugo’s two singles in Game 1 didn’t factor into the 3-2 victory, but his last play of the game certainly did. Minnesota had the game-tying run on second base with two outs when Luis Arraez hit a sinking liner in Verdugo’s direction in left. Had the ball hit the ground, it would have easily scored Jake Cave and tied things at 3-3.

But Verdugo had other plans. The left fielder sprawled out to make the diving grab, saving the win for Boston.

It was an amazing catch for Verdugo, and a masterstroke of managing from Alex Cora, who had moved Verdugo from center to left an inning prior.

But that snag was just a warmup for what Verdugo had in store for the nightcap. In Game 2, he let his bat do the talking, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, a pair of runs scored and a seventh-inning homer.

Verdugo was a big part of Boston’s six-run rally in the fifth inning, clubbing a two-out, two-run single off reliever Tyler Duffey to snap a 1-1 tie. He’d score a few batters later on a two-run single by Rafael Devers, making it 6-1 Boston.

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He added the cherry on top of the double dip in the seventh, unloading a 406-foot solo homer, his second blast of the season. The Red Sox were all smiles on Wednesday, and Verdugo’s was the biggest.

Nine straight wins will do that to anyone.

“It’s pretty special,” he said of the team’s win streak. “I feel like, from one through nine, any of the guys can hit a home run. Not only that, they can tap into a professional at-bat and shoot the ball the other way or go with the pitch. This winning streak, everybody has had their moments. That’s how you become a good ball team and keep winning.”

Verdugo has turned his season around after going hitless in Boston’s opening series, a three-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles. He’s gone hitless in just one of his eight games since, going 12-for-33 for a .363 average with eight RBIs and 11 runs scored in that span. He was hitting under .200 before Wednesday’s doubleheader, and now sits at .273 after his five-hit outburst.

With five multi-hit games over the last 10 days, Verdugo has been a catalyst out of the two-spot in Boston’s lineup. He’s brought some important knocks — and a whole lot of energy — to the table.

And he’s got plenty of room to keep growing too.

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“Alex is a good player, a very solid player,” manager Alex Cora said after Wednesday’s doubleheader. “I’m learning a lot about him. He can hit righties, he can hit lefties, he controls the strike zone, he knows his swing, good defender, overall a good baseball player. He’s still young, he’s still learning, but we’re very pleased with the way he’s playing the game right now.” Staff