BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 4: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians hits a two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox in the sixth at Fenway Park on August 4, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Offense Comes Through For Justin Masterson; Tribe Earns Split With Red Sox With 7-3 Win

This road trip may make or break Indians' chances of continuing contention

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Masterson Faces His Old Mates In Last Meeting With Red Sox This Year

(Sports Network) – Erik Bedard makes his Boston debut this evening when the Red Sox play the finale of their four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.

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.


Carlos Carrasco Tries To Break His Personal 5-Game Skid Wednesday Night

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.

Go Tribe!


Indians Vs. Boston Final: Red Sox Walk-Off With Win 3-2

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Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the game-winning run in the ninth inning to send the Red Sox over the Indians, 3-2.

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.”

Boston’s Josh Beckett lasted six innings and yielded a pair of solo home runs to Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. The right-hander allowed six hits, did not issue a walk and struck out seven.

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.

The homer came off Rafael Perez because David Huff needed 102 pitches to get through five frames. Huff gave up an unearned run and three hits in the no- decision. He walked two and fanned six.

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 AngelsErvin Santana in his previous start.


Indians Try To Move To 6-2 Vs. Boston On Tuesday Night

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(Sports Network) – Josh Beckett tries to get the Boston Red Sox back into the win column this evening when they continue their four-game set with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.

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.


Indians Vs. Boston Final: Offense Belts 4 Homers As Indians Get A Big Win, 9-6

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.

Asdrubal Cabrera belted two two-run homers, Travis Hafner and Jason Kipnis went deep, and the Indians parlayed a three-run eighth inning into a come-from-behind 9-6 victory over the Red Sox.

Oh but this was a big win for The Good Guys, and drew them to within two games of idle Detroit.

Josh Tomlin and John Lackey started tonight, and each had difficulty. Tomlin went six innings and gave up five runs, while Lackey gave up five in 6.2 frames.

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.

Williams was able to strand runners at second and third when he retired Lonnie Chisenhall and Ezequiel Carrera, but the damage had been done.

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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