The Cleveland Indians win their third straight American League Championship Series game over the Boston Red Sox, claiming a 7-3 victory at Jacobs Field to pull within one game of a return trip to the World Series.
Cleveland is powered by a decisive fifth inning, scoring seven runs to take a commanding lead in both the game and the series. After four relatively quiet innings in the batter’s box against Boston knuckler Tim Wakefield, the Indians struck first with a solo homer from Casey Blake to lead off the inning. A single from Franklin Gutierrez was followed by a hit batter, Kelly Shoppach. Grady Sizemore grounded into a fielder’s choice force out at second, but Asdrubal Cabrera knocked in a run with a single. Travis Hafner struck out for out number two, but Victor Martinez scored Sizemore with a single to left to make it 3-0.
Wakefield was relieved by Manny Delcarmen, who immediately gave up a three-run homer to Jhonny Peralta to double the Tribe’s score. After a single and stolen base from Kenny Lofton, Blake drove in his second run in as many at bats in the inning with a single to center. Cleveland would send a dozen to the plate in the inning.
Paul Byrd earned his second win of the postseason with five innings of work on the mound. He pitched into the sixth, but he gave up back-to-back homers to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz to start the inning before getting the hook. Jensen Lewis came on in relief and promptly surrendered a full count blast to Manny Ramirez, the third straight Sox homer, before settling in to retire the side.
Despite being just one win away from their third trip to the World Series since 1995, this will be the final win this season for the Indians.