By Mike Brandyberry
Shaky starts by both Josh Tomlin and John Lackey created a see-saw game at Fenway Park for the opener of a four game series on Monday, but Asdrubal Cabrera stole the show with two home runs, giving the Indians a much needed 9-5 victory to start a crucial seven game road trip.
Boston took an early second inning lead when Marco Scutaro singled home Jared Saltalamacchia to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead, but the Indians would respond in the top of the third inning when Michael Brantley doubled, with two outs, to score Ezequiel Carrera.
However, in the bottom of the third inning, Kevin Youkilis doubled high off the center field fence to score Adrian Gonzalez from first base. Carrera’s throw missed the cut-off man, third base and rolled in to foul territory on the third base side when Tomlin was able to pick it up and throw Youkilis out at the plate trying to score. The Indians lack of fundamentals was also apparent when almost botching a rundown between home and third base. Carl Crawford followed with a solo home run to give the Red Sox a 3-1 lead through three innings. Three of Crawford’s seven home runs have come at the hands of Indian pitching.
Kosuke Fukudome beat out a double play ball and allowed Cabrera to score and cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth inning. The Indians would get their own lead in the sixth when Jason Kipnis doubled, then Cabrera homered to right field. The home run was Cabrera’s eighteenth on the season. Entering 2011, he had eighteen in his career. Travis Hafner followed with his tenth home run and the Indians had a 5-3 lead.
Tomlin could not hold the lead for the Tribe in the sixth when Crawford doubled and Saltalamacchia hit a broken bat home run around Pesky’s Pole in right field. Tomlin was able to finish the sixth without any further damage, but he or Lackey would not factor in the decision.
The Indians took control of the game in the top of the eighth when Kipnis singled, and despite Rick Manning and Matt Underwood’s view, Cabrera wrapped his nineteenth home run around the Pole to give the Indians a 7-5 lead. The Tribe announcers watched several replays, insisting it was not a home run, until umpires saw the same view as the rest of the world and ruled it a round tripper. Carlos Santana walked, Fukudome singled to left and Matt LaPorta doubled off the Green Monster to give the Tribe an 8-5 lead.
Vinnie Pestano, who has had struggles of late, worked a strong eighth inning, striking out two in a three-up, three-down inning. Kipnis hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth for insurance. Kipnis recorded his first three hit effort in his young major league career. Chris Perez allowed a run in the ninth and the Tribe won a critical game, full of offense, against the Boston Red Sox. Not just did the victory bring the Indians to only two games behind Detroit, but the nine runs will hopefully not just be a flash, but a spark of things to come.
David Huff (1-1, 0.71) will match up with Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17) on Tuesday evening. Huff or Carlos Carrasco will most likely leave the rotation at the end of the week to clear room for Ubaldo Jimenez. Each will have a chance to campaign for their job this week.