Offensive Outburst Makes Francona Homecoming Easy; Indians 12, Red Sox 3
Mike Brandyberry | On 23, May 2013
Homecoming games are usually easy victories for the home team. However, this homecoming was easy for the visiting team.
The Indians struck early and often and used a six-run sixth inning to pace themselves to a 12-3 victory, taking the first game of a four game series in Boston. The win was the first for Indians manager Terry Francona since his eight year tenure as skipper of the Red Sox ended two years ago. Zach McAllister turned in another solid start, controlling Boston with the exception of one pitch.
Cleveland struck first in the top of the second inning. Carlos Santana bunted down the third base line to start the inning, defeating the shift. Mark Reynolds followed with a walk to put runners on first and second base with no one out. Yan Gomes struck out and Mike Aviles flew out, but Drew Stubbs dropped a looping double down the right field line to score Santana and give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.
The Indians tacked on to their lead in the very next inning when Asdrubal Cabrera singled, followed by Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana walks to load the bases. Reynolds followed with a single to center field, scoring Cabrera and Brantley to make the score 3-0 against the Red Sox and Dempster.
After Gomes walked, Aviles grounded to shortstop, but was able to beat the relay throw to eliminate the double play. The fielder’s choice allowed Santana to score again, making the score 4-0, Tribe. Dempster struck out Stubbs to end the inning, but it would also end his night.
Dempster (2-5) survived only three innings, allowing five hits and four runs, while walking four and striking out four. He was pulled after three innings and 85 pitches. Clayton Mortensen took over for Boston in the fourth inning.
McAllister ran in to his lone trouble in the bottom of the third inning when the Red Sox answered right back. Jacoby Ellsbury started the frame with a bunt single down the third base line, similar to Santana’s bunt. Daniel Nava walked and Dustin Pedroia singled up the middle. However, Michael Bourn threw a strike to home plate and Ellsbury was punched out for the first out of the inning. The throw was crucial at the time because David Ortiz hit his eighth home run of the season, a three run blast, to make the score 4-3 after three innings.
The Indians tacked on runs in the fourth and fifth innings to extend their lead. Bourn doubled off the Green Monster in left field to start the fourth inning and was singled home by Cabrera. Aviles reached on an infield single to in the fifth inning and stole second base before Bourn singled him home to make the score 6-3 after five innings.
Cleveland blew the game open in the top of the sixth inning. Cabrera walked to start the inning, followed by Brantley lining a single up the middle and Santana drawing his own walk to load the bases. Mortensen was chased from the game in favor of Alex Wilson. Reynolds greeted him to the game with a single to left field to plate Cabrera.
After Gomes popped up to first base and Mike Napoli dropped a routine out, he laced a double down the left field line scoring Brantley and Santana to make the game 9-3 with no one out in the sixth inning. Aviles popped out, but Stubbs tripled home Reynolds and Gomes and Bourn logged his third hit of the evening to plate Stubbs and make the game 12-3 after six innings.
McAllister’s (4-3) night was finished after five innings, allowing only five hits—all three runs on the Ortiz home run—while walking three and striking out five on 96 pitches. Cody Allen worked a scoreless sixth inning with little threat from the Red Sox.
After the sixth inning, the Tribe offense quieted the motor. Scott Barnes pitched a scoreless final three innings for Cleveland, earning his first save of the season in the lopsided contest. Barnes was recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game, replacing David Huff on the roster.
It was all the offense the Indians would need to control the game and pace them to a victory. The win was a much needed triumph as the Tribe had lost two straight to the Detroit Tigers. It also helped alleviate any pressure of Francona’s return to Boston, his first since being fired as manager in Sept. 2011. The offense was pace with three hits each by Bourn, Reynolds and Stubbs.
Friday the Indians will look to take their second game of the four game series when Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83 ERA) takes on the Red Sox John Lackey (2-4, 3.31 ERA). Game time from Fenway Park is slated for 7:10 p.m.
Photo: Charles Krupa/AP Photo