Bullpen Meltdown Blows Game Again; Red Sox 6, Indians 5

The Indians kept Red Sox fans quiet for the first eight innings of Sunday’s game. It wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth when the Boston faithful erupted in walk-off fashion.

Chris Perez blew a three-run, ninth inning lead–and may be injured–while allowing four runs and giving the Red Sox a come from behind victory, 6-5. It was the second straight day the Tribe’s back end of the bullpen blew a late inning lead.

Corey Kluber took the mound for the Indians and Felix Doubront for Boston. The loss squandered a nice start by Kluber who pitched 6 2/3 innings, gave up one run on three hits and struck out 10 Boston batters as the Tribe drops to 27-22 on the season.

At game time, Michael Bourn was hitting .298 since his return from the DL. He continued his tear with a leadoff single to open the hitting for Cleveland. Then, Jason Kipnis reached first on a fielding error by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Carlos Santana put the Indians up 2-0 when he hit a two-out single to center. He was caught trying to stretch it into a double and ended the inning.

Boston’s first run came in the bottom of the second inning. Stephen Drew hit a ball deep to right field that bounced over the short wall for a ground rule double. Jose Iglesais was hit by a pitch but was thrown out at second when Ellsbury grounded into a double play.

With Drew standing on third, Daniel Nava singled to left. As Drew waltzed into home, Nava was picked off at second as he mimicked Santana and tried to stretch his single into a double.

Kipnis’ bat came alive again in the fifth inning when he smoked an 0-2 pitch, with two-outs, just inside Pesky’s Pole in Fenway’s short right field. The solo shot, Kipnis’s eighth on the season, put the Indians up 3-1.

An inning later, Nick Swisher followed suit to the other side of the park when he hammered a 2-2 pitch over the Green Monster in left to make it 4-1, Indians.

Kipnis doubled to center to start the eighth inning. He was pushed to third by Asdrubal Cabrera, who singled to center for his first hit of the day. Swisher put the tribe up 5-1 and recorded his second RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to left.

The Red Sox’s first sign of life since the third came in the eighth inning. Drew hit a single over the head of Drew Stubbs in right field for a triple. Iglesias hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left to score drew, cutting the Indians advantage to 5-2.

Cue Chris Perez.

In the bottom of the ninth, with a 5-2 lead, Perez walked Dustin Pedroia. Following the walk, David Ortiz hit a low fastball over the head of Bourn in center for a double, but Pedroia was held at third.

Mike Napoli grounded out to short but Pedroia came around to score. Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out to first, but this time Ortiz came around to score, making it 5-4.

Perez walked Jonny Gomes and gave up a single to Drew that moved runners to the corners. Then he walked Iglesias to load the bases.

After three pitches to Ellsbury, Perez bent down on the mound. Terry Francona took a trip to see if Perez could stay in but ultimately pulled him for Joe Smith.

Ellsbury saw one pitch from Smith and took it deep to center. The hit scored Gomes and Drew to win the game for Boston.

Kluber posted eight strikeouts, his career high, in his last start against the Tigers. Through his seven innings in Fenway, Kluber fanned 10 batters.

Perez notches his fourth blown save of the season. Worse yet, his injury could have long term effects to he and the bullpen.

The Tribe plays again on Memorial Day in Cincinnati to kick off a four game series against the Reds. Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3. 6.04 ERA) will take on Cincinnati’s Mike Leake (4-2, 3.26 ERA) at 1:10 p.m.

Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

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