Kluber and Kipnis Combine to Quiet Fenway’s Faithful; Indians 4, Red Sox 2
Bob Toth | On 20, May 2016
Cleveland got seven strong innings from Corey Kluber, the expected efforts from the back end of the bullpen, and a big three-run blast from Jason Kipnis in a four-run third as the Indians invaded Fenway Park and defeated the Boston Red Sox by a 4-2 final.
Kluber did everything that he is expected to do on the mound, but it didn’t come without its early difficulties against a dangerous Red Sox lineup.
The Indians missed a chance in the first against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz after Carlos Santana led off the game with a double. He moved to third on a groundout from Kipnis and Francisco Lindor walked to bring up Mike Napoli. The Indians cleanup man grounded to third, where Santana got in a rundown between third and home before being tagged out. Jose Ramirez popped up to second to end the threat.
The Red Sox did what the Indians couldn’t do in their first half. Mookie Betts led off the home half with a double off of Kluber that rolled all the way to the wall in left. Dustin Pedroia sacrificed him to third before Xander Bogaerts knocked him home with a groundout to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
Jackie Bradley Jr., on a nice little streak at the plate, blasted the second pitch he saw of the first at bat in the second inning over the wall in center to make it a 2-0 game.
The tide turned in the third for the Tribe as Rajai Davis reached on an infield single and moved to second on a walk by Santana. First pitch swinging, Kipnis hooked one around the Pesky Pole in right field for a three-run shot, giving Cleveland a lead they would not surrender. Lindor drew a walk to keep the inning going, stole second, and advanced to third as the throw skipped off of Lindor into shallow left. After Napoli struck out, Ramirez lifted a fly to deep center. Bradley made the catch and a strong throw to the plate, but a very heads-up slide from Lindor enabled the Indians speedster to narrowly beat the tag as he pulled his right arm back in a head first slide and slapped the plate with his left hand to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
Boston would get runners on base in the third, fourth, and fifth innings against Kluber, but would not strike through.
Hanley Ramirez reached with two outs in the third, but after a wild pitch moved him to second, he was stranded on a groundout from Travis Shaw. Bradley was erased after his leadoff walk in the fourth on a double play ball. Bogaerts doubled with two outs in the fifth, but Kluber struck out David Ortiz swinging to end the inning.
The Indians struggled much the same to make anything happen the rest of the game, but they made the two-run lead hold up. They stranded a pair on base in the fourth, a runner at third in the sixth, two more in the seventh, a runner at second in the eighth, and another at first in the ninth. The Cleveland bullpen tandem of Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen shut down the Red Sox in the final two frames, giving up a hit in the eighth and a walk in the ninth. Allen struck out all three batters he retired to earn his tenth save in ten opportunities.
The Indians (22-17) have now won five games in a row and each of the first three games of their nine-game road trip. The Red Sox (25-17) fell to 14-9 at home and have dropped two straight to the Indians.
KLUBER A QUALITY BOUNCEBACK IN BOSTON
Kluber (3-5, 4.10 ERA) worked seven innings, including the majority with rare run support. He allowed the two early runs on five hits, walked a pair, and struck out six batters using 105 pitches, 66 for strikes.
“I just thought he made some really good pitches to some really good hitters,” said Indians manager Terry Francona.
FOUR OR MORE THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR KLUBER
The Indians have now won 33 straight games with Kluber on the mound when giving their ace at least four runs of support.
“Good teams always have more than one guy contributing,” said second baseman Kipnis. “I think that’s the way we’re playing right now. We have different guys each night. We’re bunting guys over, we’re doing the little things as well. We’re a tough team to beat when we do that. First and foremost though, we have to make sure Kluber gets his respect. He came ready to pitch tonight. That’s a tough lineup.”
BUCHHOLZ BEATEN AGAIN
The veteran right-hander Buchholz (2-4, 5.92) could not stop the Indians on the mound once again. He was charged with four runs (three earned) on five hits, walked four, and struck out three.
In his first start of the season on April 6 in Cleveland against the Indians, he allowed five runs on six hits in four innings with three walks and four strikeouts in a no-decision.
DAVIS K’S ON HBP
In the fourth inning while facing Buchholz, red hot Davis started to swing against a 1-2 inside changeup. Davis stopped the bat, but the ball struck him on the fingers of his right hand. Davis showed some notable pain before progressing to first base. While Francona and a trainer met with Davis at first, all four umpires met and ruled the swing a strikeout after an extensive delay.
LINDOR LOVING LEFTIES
With his single in the ninth off of left-hander Robbie Ross Jr., Lindor improved his average as a right-handed hitter to .429 (21-for-49).
Lindor was 2-for-3 at the plate on Friday with a pair of singles and two walks, pushing his batting average for the year up to .335. His run scored in the third was a valuable insurance run for Kluber to work with. His stolen base was his eighth in nine tries this season.
“He’s so athletic and he’s a smart kid,” said Francona. “I think sometimes, players like that, the game’s not going as fast as it is for the rest of us. He’s got, obviously, athleticism, but his instincts are really good. Some guys may want to do that [referring to his slide at home] but can’t quite get their body to go that way.”
KIPNIS LOVES BEANTOWN
Kipnis was 2-for-5 at the plate with his game-changing home run. In his career, he now owns a .329 batting average at Fenway Park with six homers and eleven RBI. It is the most homers hit at a road ball park by Kipnis.
“It’s a fun place to play,” said Kipnis. “There’s always a sellout crowd. There’s always a lot of excitement in the stadium. It’s a great crowd, it’s always good to play here, and there’s tons of energy going around. You kind of feed off of it.”
BRADLEY EXTENDS STREAKS
The leadoff homer from Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to an MLB season-high 25 games.
The homer also extended the consecutive game streak with a home run for Boston to a franchise-record 20 games.
RED SOX TRANSACTIONS
A pair of players landed on the disabled list for the Red Sox on Friday, prior to their loss to Cleveland.
Reliever Carson Smith returned to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 15, with right elbow soreness. He was joined by outfielder Brock Holt, who was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list, retroactive to May 19.
Cleveland and Boston will play game two of their three-game weekend series at 4:05 PM ET on Saturday.
Right-hander Joe Kelly (1-0, 9.35) will be activated from the disabled list prior to the game to make his first start against Cleveland this season. He was originally scheduled to pitch in the opening series of the season, but was bumped by the weather. He has not pitched since April 19. The Indians will counter with righty Trevor Bauer (3-1, 3.89).
Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images