For the second night in a row the Boston Red Sox have beaten the Indians in their final at-bat, and for the second night in a row the culprit was Jacoby Ellsbury.
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.