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  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez (5), Boston Red Sox right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) and Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo (99) embrace after the win as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Garrett Whitlock (72) is congratulated by Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7) on the win as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) celebrates his 2 run homer in the 3rd as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) fields a drive by Minnesota Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers (27) in the third as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) shuttles the ball to Boston Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story (10) to get the double play on a drive by Minnesota Twins third baseman Gio Urshela (15) in the 5th as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox bullpen coach Kevin Walker (55) throws in the 6th as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) celebrates his 2 run HR with Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez (5) in the third as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (13) runs back to the dugout as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) is pulled in the 6th by Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (13) as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo (99) celebrates his 2 run HR in the second as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo (99) celebrates his 2 run HR in the second as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story (10) tags out Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) on the attempted steal in the first as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Trevor Story makes a play as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) throws in the first as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) throws in the first as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) throws in the first as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

  • Boston, MA - April 16: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) throws in the first as the Red Sox take on the Twins at Fenway Park on April 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

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The first week of the season hasn’t been ideal for Xander Bogaerts.

The star shortstop and the Red Sox couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract extension, fueling speculation and outside distractions about his future. A hamstring injury suffered on Opening Day came and then Bogaerts went on a bit of an early-season slump.

But on Saturday, Bogaerts looked a little like himself again.

The shortstop – at least for a day – put any lingering frustration away, hitting a no-doubt two-run home run to help lift the Red Sox to their best win of the young season. Alex Verdugo launched another homer, and Tanner Houck produced a strong performance from the mound as the Sox secured their first home victory of the season, a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.

“I’m getting there,” Bogaerts said.

There was no reason to fret over Bogaerts’ struggles to start the season. Alex Cora reinforced Friday that slumps are magnified early on in a 162-game marathon.

But there’s no doubt Bogaerts’ swing in the third inning felt good. He confirmed it by adding some swagger to it.

Bogaerts had just two hits in his previous 19 at-bats since the Red Sox’ Opening Day loss in New York heading into the third inning. That even included a strikeout in his first at-bat on Saturday that was a rarity – he didn’t swing the bat once in six pitches from Sonny Gray, who rung him up on a curveball to end the first.

“I felt excellent, I just didn’t swing,” Bogaerts said. “He threw me some good pitches, but I felt good taking. I probably should have swung.”

He didn’t make the same mistake again.

The Red Sox led 2-0 when Bogaerts stepped to the dish in the third, two batters after Kiké Hernandez hit a one-out double. The second pitch of the at-bat was an inside fastball off the plate from Josh Winder, but Bogaerts was all over it. He knew it was gone off the barrel of his bat, which he proceeded to flip as the ball sailed over the Green Monster and smacked off the National Car Rental sign.

That was Bogaerts’ only hit of the day – his first homer of the season – but it was enough. And it was a start.

“It was huge,” Cora said. “Still searching, still searching. But he saw a fastball and he put a good swing on it. … He’s not in a great spot offensively, we all know that, but that’s what he can do. He can change the game with one swing and it was good to see.”

Bogaerts’ performance helped a strong all-around effort by the Red Sox, who got another big swing from Verdugo. The left fielder continued his sizzling start to the season with his second homer in two days, when he launched a second-inning offering from Sonny Gray, depositing it 437 feet to right field. It was his team-leading third homer through the first eight games of the season.

That’s all the Red Sox ultimately needed. Houck had trouble with command early, as he fell behind in the count against nine of the first 10 Twins batters he faced. He walked three, and just 50 of his 89 pitches were strikes. But it didn’t come back to bite him as he completed 5 2/3 shutout innings.

Houck looked better with his splitter, which he threw 13 times and generated two swings and misses. He ended his outing shaky, walking Luis Arraez on four pitches, but walked off the mound to a standing ovation from the crowd at Fenway.

“He’s a stud,” Garrett Whitlock said of Houck. “I love watching him do his thing. … Whenever he goes out and competes like that, it’s so much fun to watch him do his thing. He’s got some of the best stuff in all of baseball. I love when he goes and does that.

Matt Strahm was used as a bridge to Whitlock, who continued his dominance early this season in preserving late Red Sox leads with multiple-inning performances. He recorded the final seven Red Sox outs, striking out five Twins to complete the victory.

Cora was originally planning on using Whitlock again on Sunday and Monday, but he went to him early.

“The game dictated that,” Cora said. “It’s one of those when he goes, he goes, and that was a short one actually, but we’ll take care of him.”

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