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The Indians finally managed to get enough runs for Justin Masterson, and on a night when Masterson struggled early, Cleveland was able to come away from this four-game series with the Red Sox with a split, winning tonight 7-3.
The Tribe pounded out 14 hits, including three each from Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana and Kosuke Fukudome. It was Santana’s two-run homer in the sixth that put the Indians ahead to stay, and the bullpen made sure that the Red Sox would not pull any late-inning magic on this night.
After Boston grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the Tribe immediately tied things up in the second on a Matt LaPorta infield single off of Erik Bedard — who was making his first appearance for the Red Sox after being acquired from Seattle and who never got to the bag to cover first, allowing LaPorta to reach safely — and a ground out from Austin Kearns. The inning could have been even better, but LaPorta was thrown out at the plate on a base-hit from Jason Donald.
Cleveland took a 3-2 lead in the third, but not before Masterson recorded four strikeouts in the Boston third, on the first of which Josh Reddick reached on a wild pitch on a swinging strike three. Then the Indians scored when Santana delivered a two-out single, scoring Asdrubal Cabrera.
Boston tied it at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth when Reddick homered and it stayed that way until the sixth.
The Red Sox brought in Franklin Morales (0-2) to replace Bedard, and the Indians greeted Morales with a double from Hafner followed by Santana’s 16th round-tripper of the season, and the Tribe was up 5-3.
Masterson (9-7) worked out of a two-on and one-out jam in the sixth and then the Indians tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Hafner doubled with two outs, scoring Cabrera from first and making it 6-3.
Vinnie Pestano came on in relief of Masterson to start the seventh and worked a solid inning and a third before Tony Sipp got the last two outs in the eighth. Chris Perez then came on in a non-save situation and retired the Sox in order to finish things up.
It was a non-save situation courtesy of Fukudome, who doubled in Cabrera with two outs in the top of the ninth.
The Tribe had a good game with men in scoring position, going 5-for-13. Amazing how that can translate into a win, yes?
All eyes will be on Friday night’s game, when Ubaldo Jimenez will make his first appearance and start for The Good Guys.
Bedard was acquired by the Red Sox right at the non-waiver trade deadline on Sunday after going 4-7 with the Seattle Mariners with a 3.45 earned run average. He was roughed up in his first start back from the disabled list and his final start in Seattle on Friday, as he gave up five runs to the Tampa Bay Rays in just 1 1/3 innings.
He had been 4-2 with a 1.77 ERA in his previous 11 starts, and has pitched well on the whole, allowing three earned runs or less in 13 of his 16 starts this season and two runs or less in eight of those games.
The oft-injured left-hander, though, is just returning from a DL stint because of a strained knee and missed all of last season recovering from shoulder surgery.
“[People have] got to remember that this is his second start [back],” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He probably should be almost still on rehab. He went a month without pitching. Whether the media, the fans, want to be patient, that’s your guys’ prerogative. We need to be [patient] because what we want to do is balance winning now, which is important, [with getting] this guy really locked in for what we want to do going forward.
“Pitching him 110 pitches tomorrow wouldn’t do that. … You look at his stats, his numbers are eerily similar to Buchholz’s this year. I mean, like, right there. It’s amazing.”
Bedard was hit hard by the Indians earlier in the year to the tune of six runs in four innings. However, he is 2-2 lifetime against them with a 4.44 ERA in 10 starts.
After losing the first game of this series on a late home run from Asdrubal Cabrera, the Red Sox have answered back in dramatic fashion the last two nights. Jacoby Ellsbury’s walk-off hit won Tuesday’s contest and he was at it again on Wednesday when his ninth-inning home run carried Boston to a 4-3 win.
Joe Smith (2-2) replaced Tony Sipp to begin the ninth for the visitors. After pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro both grounded out, Ellsbury crushed an 0-1 pitch to the seats above the center-field wall.
For Smith, it was the first home run surrendered by the right-hander in 46 appearances out of the bullpen this season.
Tim Wakefield, who turned 45 on Tuesday, had a chance to give himself a belated birthday gift, but the veteran knuckleballer failed in his second attempt for career win No. 200. He was lifted from the game in the seventh after Cleveland’s Ezequiel Carrera tied the game at three with a ground-rule double.
Ellsbury’s career-best 18th home run of the year made a winner out of Jonathan Papelbon (4-0), who tossed a perfect inning of relief.
Looking to avoid a sixth straight losing start, Indians hurler Carlos Carrasco picked up a no-decision after allowing three runs — two earned — on nine hits in seven-plus innings.
The lone bright spot for Cleveland was second baseman Jason Kipnis, who homered for the fourth straight game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t execute offensively, 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “When you’re playing against a team like that, you have to play close to perfect.”
Hoping to get the Indians back into the win column this evening will be former Red Sox prospect Justin Masterson, who is 8-7 with a 2.56 ERA on the year. Masterson pitched well against Kansas City on Saturday, but did not get a decision, as he allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings of his team’s 5-2 win.
Masterson also didn’t get a decision against his old team earlier in the year, but has handled them since being dealt for Victor Martinez in 2009, going 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three starts.
Cleveland has won five of its nine matchups with the Red Sox this season.
After singling in the winning run last night, Ellsbury hit a two-out blast to straightaway center tonight off of Joe Smith as the Red Sox dropped the Tribe to .500 with a 4-3 victory.
With Detroit’s second straight win over Texas, Cleveland now falls four games out of first place in a season that is starting to slip away in a hurry.
After beginning the season 30-15, the Indians have gone 24-39, and reach the two-thirds mark in the 2011 campaign in a state of desperation.
The Red Sox scored two in the first tonight off of Carlos Carrasco and you had a feeling it could be a long night, but Carrasco gutted his way into the eighth inning, giving up only one more run, while the Tribe got a homer from Jason Kipnis for the fourth straight game as well as RBI doubles from Travis Hafner and Ezequiel Carrera, but all for naught as Boston maintained their narrow lead in the AL East.
It is worth noting that the Indians' two-run fourth should have been more. After Hafner doubled to knot the game at two, he moved to third on a passed ball, still with nobody out. Needing just a sac fly to take the lead, Carlos Santana fanned (for one of his four K's on the night), Kosuke Fukudome grounded out, with Hafner holding at third, and Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out.
Talk about a good news/bad news rally.
Oh, and for the second straight night, Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth inning, and got the win, moving to 4-0 on the season, while Smith fell to 2-2.
Now the Indians send Justin Masterson on Thursday night to try to salvage a split of this four-game set that began in such a promising fashion.
Too many more games like these last two could demoralize a team. Of course, losing a seven-game lead and watching a 30-15 record turn into a .500 record could do that as well.
The Tribe was held to five hits tonight and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. But unfortunately, that has been the rule rather than the exception for much of the time since the end of May.
Let’s get ’em tomorrow, guys.
Carlos Carrasco will try for his first victory in over a month when he takes on Tim Wakefield and the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park in Game 3 of this four-game series that stands at one win apiece.
It will help if Carrasco can keep his emotions in check when adversity enters the game — as it surely will against the AL-best Red Sox.
Carrasco (8-9, 4.67 ERA) has not won since June 29, and has dropped five consecutive starts, losing his cool in more than one appearance, including his last time out when he buzzed Kansas City’s Billy Butler after surrendering a grand slam to the previous batter.
Carrasco has been assigned a six-game suspension for the incident, which he is appealing and which allows him to get the start tonight.
In his last five games, Carrasco has allowed 24 runs in 23.2 innings, and has seen his ERA go from 3.54 to its current number, more than a run per game higher.
Carrasco will be making his first appearance in 2011 vs. the Sawks, against whom he is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in one outing totaling 3.1 innings.
Carrasco’s opponent has — shall we say — had a bit more experience against the Indians.
Wakefield (6-4, 5.06 ERA) will be facing Cleveland for the 31st time in his career, and tonight’s will be his 24th start against the Tribe. Wakefield has gone 12-8 vs. the Indians with a 4.05 ERA in 162.1 innings.
Wakefield faced Cleveland way back on August 6 in a relief appearance, going two innings and giving up one run.
It will be interesting, given the Tribe’s struggles of late offensively, to see how they fare against the knuckleballer Wakefield. Especially since the “new blood” of the Indians has never faced him.
One thing is certain, and that is that Cleveland could use a win, as they sit a season-high three games behind the Tigers, with four more tough games on this road-trip coming after tonight.
Boston wasted Dustin Pedroia’s leadoff single in the eighth, but got consecutive one-out base hits in the ninth by Jason Varitek and Josh Reddick and cashed in on the chance when Ellsbury lined one to center off Vinnie Pestano (1-1).
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pinch-running for Vartiek, slid in head first in front of Ezequiel Carrera’s off-line throw to help the hosts rebound from Monday’s 9-6 loss in the opener of this four-game series.
“Those are exciting,” said Ellsbury. “To end the game like that with a ‘W’ on one swing of the bat.”
Jonathan Papelbon (3-0) earned the win.
“[Beckett] was just getting his pitches across and pounding the zone, and working both sides of the plate. It’s tough to adjust to that,” Chisenhall said.
Following a one-hour, 35-minute rain delay to start the game, Kipnis hit a fly ball to right-center that barely eluded Darnell McDonald’s glove and landed in Boston’s bullpen for the rookie’s third home run in as many games.
David Ortiz tied things in the second by scoring on a wild pitch, but it was the only run the Red Sox pushed across after loading the bases with their first three hitters.
Chisenhall took Beckett deep down the right-field line for a 2-1 lead in the fourth, only to have Kevin Youkilis answer with a leadoff blast off the Sports Authority sign above the Green Monster in the sixth.
Boston’s Tim Wakefield turned 45 on Tuesday…Pedroia has hit safely in each of his last 24 games at Fenway Park…Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 12 games…Youkilis was ejected in the eighth for arguing a swinging strike…Huff was on the other end of a no-hitter by the Angels’ Ervin Santana in his previous start.
The Indians won in dramatic fashion in Monday’s opener, as Asdrubal Cabrera, with the aid of instant replay, homered off Daniel Bard to break a tie game in the eighth inning and lift Cleveland to a 9-6 win.
Bard (1-5), the owner of a 26 1/3 scoreless-inning streak before entering from the bullpen in the eighth, gave up a leadoff single to Jason Kipnis before facing Cabrera, who had hit a two-run homer earlier in the game.
Cabrera turned on Bard’s low 1-2 breaking ball and lined it down the right- field line. The ball caromed off a fan’s knee in the first row near Pesky’s Pole, came back onto the field and was originally ruled a base hit.
But Cabrera and Indians manager Manny Acta protested the call, leading to a replay review that correctly reversed the ruling to break a 5-5 deadlock.
“From my perspective it looked like it stayed in the park, but it looks like they got it right,” Bard said. “The pitch to Cabrera I thought was a pretty good pitch and I didn’t realize Lackey had thrown him quite of few of those same sliders down and in. I think he was probably sitting on that one. So I probably should’ve stayed hard with him there.”
The homer sparked an Indians club coming off a disappointing 2-6 homestand and helped get them within two games of AL Central-leading Detroit.
Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both homered for the Red Sox, who posted a 20-6 record in July to stay atop the competitive AL East. However, their lead was trimmed to one game over the New York Yankees, who won in Chicago on Monday.
Beckett, meanwhile, will be trying to bounce back himself after a shaky outing his last time out. Beckett absorbed the loss on Thursday against Kansas City, which reached him for four runs (three earned) and five hits in seven innings.
Beckett, who is 9-4 with a 2.17 ERA on the year, beat the Indians the last time he faced them, but is 4-5 lifetime against them with a 5.04 ERA in nine starts.
Cleveland will counter with lefty David Huff, who is 1-1 in two starts this season, but has allowed just one earned run in those outings. Huff was tagged with the loss on Wednesday against the Angels, as he gave up two runs (one earned) and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Huff has lost both of his starts to the Red Sox, pitching to a 2.38 ERA in those contests.
Cleveland has won five of its seven matchups with the Red Sox this season.
Baseball is an odd game sometimes. Or maybe an odd ballpark just makes it seem that way.
After struggling throughout their just-finished eight-game homestand on offense, all it took for the Indians to break out was a trip to quirky Fenway Park to get things together — at least for one night.
Oh but this was a big win for The Good Guys, and drew them to within two games of idle Detroit.
But it was the Tribe bullpen which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor. allowing only one run while Boston's surrendered four.
After falling behind 3-1 after three and creeping back to within 3-2 in the fourth, Cleveland got back-to-back jacks in the sixth from Cabrera and Hafner’s 10th homer to go up 5-3, only to see Boston come right back and tie things on a two-run blast from Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
It stayed that way until the eighth, when the Indians touched tough Boston righty Daniel Bard for the decisive three-run rally.
Kipnis led off the eighth with a single, and scored on what was first ruled a single by Cabrera, but on review was ruled a home run on a liner right down the line in right— Cabrera’s 19th long ball — putting Cleveland up 7-5. With one out Carlos Santana worked an 11-pitch walk, ending Bard’s night, and after Kosuke Fukudome singled off of Randy Williams, Matt LaPorta doubled off the Green Monster, putting the Tribe up by three.
Vinnie Pestano came on in the eighth in relief of winner Rafael Perez (4-1) and worked a one-two-three frame, fanning two.
Then in the ninth, Kipnis blasted his second homer in two days, and the Tribe led 9-5.
Chris Perez came on for the Tribe in a non-save situation in the ninth, and got a big first out with a swinging strike out of Saltalamacchia on a full-count.
Perez then fanned Josh Reddick before Mike Aviles singled to keep things alive before Jacoby Ellsbury dropped a ground-rule double down the left-field line to score Aviles (who had advanced to second on defensive indifference) and make it 9-6 Indians.
Perez finally ended things by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground out to third.
So the Indians take the first game of this big four-game series, and will now call on David Huff tomorrow night to try and keep things going in a positive direction.
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Lackey has started to turn it around after an awful start to the season. The righty continued his winning ways on Wednesday against Kansas City, as he held the Royals to four runs (three earned) and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings to improve to 9-8 to go along with a still lofty 6.20 ERA.
Cleveland has also given Lackey fits over his career, as he is just 6-7 lifetime against it with a 4.07 ERA.
The Red Sox, who added left-hander Erik Bedard at Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline, will need Lackey even more now with the news that righty Clay Buchholz could be lost for the season with a stress fracture in his back.
Still and all, the Red Sox continue to set the pace in the American League East, holding a two-game edge on the New York Yankees.
Boston captured the rubber match of its three-game set with the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, as Dustin Pedroia's two-run single in the seventh inning propelled the Red Sox to a 5-3 win.
"I'm excited to hit with guys on base. I'm just trying to drive the ball into the outfield to get one run. It was lucky for us that we got two," Pedroia said.
Jason Varitek added a two-run homer in the Red Sox's second straight win.
Alfredo Aceves (7-1) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief of starter Andrew Miller. Miller allowed three runs on 10 hits and a walk while fanning eight in 5 2/3 innings.
Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 24th save of the year.
Cleveland, meanwhile, also helped itself out at the deadline, acquiring Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez for a package of prospects. The Indians find themselves 2 1/2 games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central after dropping a 5-3 decision to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
"It was a disappointing homestand," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "The fact that we play better at home and come over here and lose three series in a row is very disappointing."
Fausto Carmona (5-11) was pegged with the loss after surrendering four runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Hoping to turn things around tonight the Indians will rely on righty Josh Tomlin, who is 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA. Tomlin absorbed the loss on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he gave up two runs and four hits in eight innings.
Tomlin beat the Red Sox the last time he faced them and is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA against them in two starts.
Cleveland has won four of its six matchups with the Red Sox this season.
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