Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Adrian Beltre’s eighth career grand slam backed eight dominant innings from Daisuke Matsuzaka, and the Boston Red Sox earned a four-game series split with the Cleveland Indians by posting a 6-2 victory.
Matsuzaka (8-3) allowed just a solo homer in the first inning and scattered five hits and two walks while fanning six for the Red Sox, who have won nine of their last 14 games. Beltre notched his 20th home run of the season and now has 75 RBI on the season.
Jonathan Papelbon notched his 26th save of the season.
Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Indians, who had won four of their last five games. Josh Tomlin (1-1) suffered the first loss of his young career despite a solid outing, allowing four runs, four hits and two walks while striking out five in seven frames.
“Daisuke was tough,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We aren’t going to be a hitting machine type of club, we battled and scrapped, but today was tough with him throwing the ball low to mid-90’s and the arsenal he has.”
Cleveland mounted a comeback in the ninth, down five, bringing the tying run to the plate.
With runners on the corners and one out, Luis Valbuena singled to bring home a runner and cut the Indians’ deficit to four. At that point, Papelbon relieved Hideki Okajima and struck out Andy Marte. He walked Shelley Duncan, though, to load the bases, but recovered to strike out Trevor Crowe to end the game.
Choo gave the Indians an early lead with a solo blast in the first inning, and Tomlin shut down the Red Sox the first time through the lineup, pitching three perfect frames.
Boston, though, struck with one big swing in the fourth.
Tomlin’s flawless outing came to an end when Marco Scutaro singled with one out, although he induced a fly out from David Ortiz in the next at-bat. He then ran into some control issues, walking both Victor Martinez and J.D. Drew to load the bases for Beltre, who crushed a grand slam to left for a 4-1 lead.
“It was pretty big for us. Adrian put a good swing on that ball,” Martinez said of Beltre’s grand slam.
Matsuzaka dominated after giving up Choo’s blast, allowing only one other runner to reach third base.
Drew’s two-run single in the home eighth accounted for Boston’s six runs.
Indians manager Manny Acta served as the third base coach with Steve Smith suspended for two games. The suspension was the only one issued stemming from Monday’s bench-clearing altercation. Six players were fined…The teams split the season series, 4-4…Beltre has an 11-game hit streak…Tomlin had allowed two runs in 12 1/3 innings after his first two starts…Cleveland has recorded an extra-base hit in 58 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors…Both teams lost a player for the rest of the season Thursday: Indians catcher Carlos Santana (knee), and Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis (thumb). Both players were injured on Monday and will undergo surgery on Friday at Cleveland Clinic.