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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.