Cleveland’s Sloppy Play Hands Boston a Victory; Red Sox 7, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 25, May 2013
A four-run bottom of the eighth inning off of Indians setup man Vinnie Pestano, after he recorded the first two outs of the inning, gave the Boston Red Sox their first lead of the day and they closed it down in the ninth to win by a 7-4 final.
Manager Terry Francona followed the recipe that has worked time and time again over the last several seasons. With a one-run lead, reliever Joe Smith had worked a quiet seventh inning and he handed the ball off to the usually reliable Pestano (1-1).
Pedro Ciriaco doubled to left center with one out. A strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury put two away, but that was when the Red Sox rally began. Pinch hitter Mike Carp doubled off of the Green Monster in left, scoring Ciriaco to tie the game. Dustin Pedroia followed with a double of his own off of the Monster to push Carp across and give the Sox a 5-4 lead. An intentional walk to David Ortiz was followed by an unintentional walk to Mike Napoli to load the bases. Daniel Nava singled to shallow left field as Indians fielders lost the ball in the wind, scoring both Pedroia and Ortiz to give Boston their final advantage, 7-4.
“I think it is more command,” Francona said regarding Pestano’s effort and decreased velocity. “We pitched him last night just to try to keep him sharp. I think he is trying to work through knowing release point and trying to get comfortable and getting confident. His breaking ball is not quite where it will be. Again, saying all that, he got a pop up and there are a couple of balls that are Fenway fly balls. So again, you have to keep it in perspective.”
The Indians fall to 21-1 when leading at the start of the eighth inning. The Indians ended a streak of nine straight games without an error.
Cleveland had jumped out to an early lead for their starter Scott Kazmir. After Boston starter Jon Lester retired the first two batters of the game, Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right field. Cabrera stole second base and was able to score on a double to left by Nick Swisher to give Cleveland the 1-0 advantage.
The Red Sox tied the game up in the bottom of the second. After Kazmir struck out the first two batters of the inning, Jose Iglesias reached on an infield single. He was balked to second and scored on a two-out RBI single by Ciriaco.
Cleveland came right back in the next half inning. Drew Stubbs led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice by Mike Aviles. Cabrera, who was a big factor in the game, doubled to left safely thanks to an alert head first slide to the inside part of the second base bag. Swisher followed with a single to left, but a hustling Cabrera was thrown out in a close play at the plate by a good throw from left fielder Jonny Gomes.
After Mark Reynolds was hit by a pitch in his left foot, Carlos Santana singled to center. Swisher scored from second base to give the Indians a 3-1 lead. The throw from Ellsbury to third base skipped under the glove of Ciriaco, allowing Reynolds and Santana to both move up 90 feet. Yan Gomes worked the count deep, finally swinging and missing at the eighth and final pitch of the at bat to end the Indians’ threat.
That score remained until the bottom of the fourth, when Boston chipped away at the Cleveland lead. Nava drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a one-out double by Iglesias. An error by the Indians right fielder, Ryan Raburn, while trying to pick up the ball allowed Nava to score on the play. Kazmir worked a flyout and ground out to strand the tying run at third.
Kazmir worked into and out of trouble throughout the game. He lasted five innings on the afternoon and left with the lead, albeit temporarily. He allowed two earned runs on five hits, walked four, and struck out six while surpassing 100 pitches for just the second time in seven starts.
“I thought [Kazmir] had to dodge traffic all day and he made some really big pitches,” said Francona. “They made him work from the first inning on. But he continued to make pitches. We just, as a team today, gave them extra opportunities and they took advantage of every one of them.”
Bryan Shaw came on in relief of Kazmir in the sixth. Back-to-back one-out singles, combined with a throwing error by Reynolds, forced the Indians to load the bases with an intentional walk to Ellsbury. On a 1-0 pitch, Gomes lifted a fly ball to center, scoring Iglesias and tying the game at three with the sacrifice.
The Indians continued to have some luck in two-out at bats, although in this circumstance, they did not even need to swing the bat. Aviles and Cabrera each singled with one out to put runners on the corners. A sharp lineout by Swisher right at Ciriaco brought Reynolds to the plate. Cabrera stole second during the at bat, and Aviles scored on a wild pitch by Lester that skipped in the dirt in front of home plate before bouncing off of the mask of catcher David Ross.
Lester was finished after the seventh. He allowed four earned runs on ten hits, walked one, and struck out eight. Junichi Tazawa (4-2) earned the win with a scoreless eighth inning.
“He [Lester] has got so many different ways to attack you. He’s got that two-seam, four-seam fastball. He can sink it. He can cut it. And that cutter is the big weapon and opens up so much of the plate for him,” said Francona. “We scratched and clawed to get four. We just couldn’t make it stand up.”
Cabrera was three-for-five on the afternoon with a pair of singles and a double. He stole two bases on the day, increasing his season total to four. He scored once and drove one run in.
Indians backup catcher Gomes saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end in the loss. He and fellow catcher Santana struck out three times each.
Carp is now 6-for-12 on the season against the Indians with 6 RBI. Four of the six hits have been for extra bases – one home run, one triple, and two doubles.
During the game, it was announced that former Indians left-handed pitcher David Huff, who had been designated for assignment following Wednesday’s game, had been claimed off of waivers by the New York Yankees.
The Indians fall to 27-21 with the loss on the season and remain in second place in the American League Central. They are 12-11 away from Progressive Field. The Red Sox improve to 30-20 on the season at 15-11 at Fenway Park. They had pulled within a half game of the Yankees, who were playing Tampa Bay in a 4:10 PM start.
Corey Kluber (3-3, 5.19) will make the start for the Indians. Kluber allowed three earned runs in six and one-third innings in his last start against Detroit. He struck out a season-high eight Tigers.
Boston’s Felix Doubront (3-2, 5.61) will oppose. He is looking to win his first game in May after a perfect 3-0 record in April. He allowed two runs in five innings against the Indians last month.
Game time is scheduled for 1:35 PM Sunday. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and on the Cleveland Indians radio network.
Photo: AP Photo/Winslow Townson