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.