Slammed

The Red Sox found themselves in a classic pitchers duel last night, as Curt Schilling and Johan Santana each shut down the opposing lineups in dominant fashion, each only allowing a solo home run in the seventh inning. Each team also used their best relievers, as the game went to 12th inning. The Red Sox took a one run lead in the 12th, but Julian Tavarez loaded the bases and then gave up a walk off grand slam to Jason Kubel to give the Twins the 5-2 win in Minnesota last night.

Santana looked like Pedro Martinez circa 1999 for eight innings last night as he struck out 13 and was dominant on the mound. Chris Snow has a look a a memorable night at the Metrodome. (For more news on Snow, see a link in the section under the Red Sox coverage below.) Michael Silverman reports on the pitching duel which ended in a draw, followed by a battle of bullpens which he says was no contest. I think that’s a little inaccurate, as Papelbon and Timlin were fine in their three innings, it was Tavarez who was shaky. Sean McAdam notes that the Red Sox had this one in their grasp twice in the late innings last night, yet let it get away from them. David Heuschkel reports on the pitching duel gone cruel for the Sox. Phil O’Neill also has coverage of a night with a bitter end for the Red Sox in Minnesota.

Karen Guregian has a nice look at Manny Ramirez, who flew by himself to Minnesota yesterday, and had no problem talking to fans at the airport and on the plane. She talks to the man who sat next to Manny on the flight, and records a few other exchanges Manny had with fans. Dan Shaughnessy looks at what should be an instant ESPN Classic featuring the matchup of Santana and Schilling. Guregian also has a look at the pitching duel between the two aces. The Inside Track has a preview of the Sports Illustrated article this week on David Ortiz, where he talks about the loss of his mother in a car accident.

Snow’s notebook reports on Keith Foulke going to the DL, with Mike Timlin coming off. Silverman’s notebook has more on the rosters moves and ends with a disturbing Kevin Millar anecdote. Heuschkel’s notebook also reports on Timlin coming off the DL. O’Neill’s notebook gives us more on Foulke’s move to the disabled list.

The Globe has announced that their talented young Red Sox beat writer Chris Snow will be leaving the paper later this summer to take the job of Director of Hockey Operation for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. That’s a pretty impressive move for Snow, and will leave the Globe with a big hole to fill.

The Patriots opened their annual mandatory minicamp yesterday without star receiver Deion Branch. The former Super Bowl MVP is trying to make a statement about the his contract talks. Predictably, he was the focus of many stories. However, Jerome Solomon chooses to report on players who were actually there, as he looks at how Corey Dillon is mentoring the Patriots first round pick, and his probable eventual replacement, Laurence Maroney. John Tomase looks at a more assertive Ellis Hobbs, ready to take a step up in play and leadership in his second year with the Patriots. Tom E Curran has a look at Tom Brady have a rough time getting things moving smoothly in 7 on 7 drills in first day of minicamp with his new offensive teammates. Michael Felger reports on new Patriot Johnathan Sullivan, who didn’t particularly impress in his first day of work, other than standing out because of his weight. David Brown looks at Troy Brown taking the role of top receiver in camp with the absence of Branch.

Ready for the onslaught of Deion Branch stories? Nick Cafardo says Branch has some leverage against the team because the Patriots receiving corps are so thin. Alan Greenberg says you know things are serious when Bill Belichick refers to the receiver as “Branch” rather than “Deion”. Albert Breer says that it’s a bit too early to start worrying about Branch just yet. Chris Kennedy reports on Branch pulling a no-show at camp. Rich Garven looks at the first move in what could be a drawn out power play between Branch and the club, and examines the Patriots options at this point. Dan Pires wonders if having a veteran hold out two years in a row makes it a trend for the Patriots, and looks at the overall situation in terms of Patriots negotiations. Michael Parente talks to a few of Branch’s teammates about his situation. Christopher Price has more on the holdout by Branch. Tomase’s notebook also reports on the situation.

Curran’s notebook is quite extensive, with reports on Sullivan, Dillon and the change in leadership for the Patriots. Solomon’s notebook is full of tidbits as well, as he has Patriots players commenting on Ben Roethlisberger, Jerry Rice criticizing Branch and a number of other items. Kennedy’s notebook looks at the Patriots dealing with roster changes from the offseason. Garven’s notebook has Tedy Bruschi eager to get the season going after the playoff loss in Denver last season. Parente’s notebook also talks with Bruschi about the upcoming season.

Shira Springer looks at Dwyane Wade and the Heat getting back into the NBA finals with their 98-96 in last night in game three. Jackie MacMullan looks at Wade stepping up his game with 42 points to lead the Heat back from a 13 point deficit with under seven minutes to play. Springer’s notebook has Pat Riley talking about how the Heat bounced back from the big loss in game two. Mark Murphy talks to Danny Ainge about J.J. Redick’s DUI charge, which could affect his draft standing.

Steve Conroy reports that the Bruins will not be able to buy out the contract of Alex Zhamnov after all. Kevin Paul Dupont talks to a former Hartford Whalers fan about his feelings with the franchise now known as the Carolina Hurricanes on the brink of winning the Stanley Cup. Dupont’s notebook looks at Carolina winger Corey Stillman.

Bob Ryan looks at Tiger Woods moving ahead without his Dad.

NESN has Red Sox/Twins at 8:00. NBC has Hurricanes/Oilers at 8:00. ESPN has Mets/Phillies at 7:00.