The Indians, on a night where the game-time temperature was 39 degrees, had the hot bats when it counted and outlasted the still-winless Boston Red Sox 8-4 tonight at Progressive Field, winning their third straight and climbing above the break-even point at 3-2 with the series’ finale set for tomorrow afternoon.
Shin-Soo Choo belted a two-run blast in the first, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run shot in the sixth, and Matt LaPorta homered in the eighth as the Indians withstood a desperate Red Sox team, which fell to 0-5 on the season.
All three had their first homers of the year.
Rafael Perez, the third of six Indians’ pitchers, got the win with an inning-and-a-third of perfect relief, including two K’s. Tony Sipp once again pitched a one-two-three eighth, and — after LaPorta’s jack took away a save situation — Vinnie Pestano pitched a perfect ninth to end it.
The losing pitcher was Daisuke Matsuzaka, who gave up three runs in the first two innings and then settled down to last through the fifth without further damage. Dennys Reyes relieved in the sixth and lit the fuse with two hit batsmen and a walk that ended up in a four-run explosion for the Tribe, the exclamation point of which was Asdrubal Cabrera’s blast. Tim Wakefield relieved in the seventh and hurled two innings, surrendering LaPorta’s blast.
A crowd of 9.523 witnessed the contest that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours, but the Tribe fans in attendance have to be warmed heading home, knowing that the Indians will be back at it at 12:05 tomorrow in the finale of the season-opening homestand with Fausto Carmona trying to bounce back from his Opening Day disaster. Jon Lester will go for Boston, trying to avoid the second straight three-game sweep against the Sox, who open at home on Friday against the Yankees.