Trevor Bauer struggled some in the early innings to maintain a big lead, but Edwin Encarnacion made sure the Tribe’s right-hander had some extra room to maneuver through the Boston lineup, hitting a pair of two-run homers to power the Cleveland Indians past the Red Sox, 7-3, in Monday’s makeup game.
A long and winding road trip for the Indians across the right half of the continental United States is off to a good start for the Indians (64-52), who won a fourth straight game on their four-city, eleven-game road trip after taking the final three of a four-game set in Tampa Bay over the weekend. Coming to Boston, where the club was massacred earlier in the month, the Indians put that tough loss behind them and fought back after once again coughing up a big lead at Fenway Park to the Red Sox.
Doug Fister stood sixty feet and six inches away and six feet eight inches tall, but he did not tower over the Indians as he had on July 31 in winning his first game of the season, when he continued a career of solid performances against the Tribe.
He got himself into trouble to start the second, as the Indians put up a three-spot to take a big early lead. After Jay Bruce led things off with a walk, Carlos Santana sent him to third with a single to right-center. Bradley Zimmer’s August struggles continued with a strikeout, but Abraham Almonte worked back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk to load the bases. Roberto Perez, known for the arm that he showcased in the home half of the first more so than for his bat, delivered an RBI-single to left to put the Indians on the board. Francisco Lindor followed with a single of his own to drive in a pair to give Cleveland a three-run edge. Jose Ramirez would walk with two outs, but Encarnacion missed a big chance to blow the doors off as he popped to second and proceeded to destroy his bat.
Bauer would have the strikeout pitch working on the night, but he also gave up a couple of costly mistakes along the way. Rookie Rafael Devers homered with one down in the second before Bauer worked around a one-out double by Xander Bogaerts and a two-out walk by Christian Vazquez with a pair of swinging Ks. Andrew Benintendi cut the deficit to one with a monstrous homer with one down in the third to make it a 3-2 contest before Bauer struck out the next two swinging. Devers would deliver again to start the fourth, erasing the Indians’ lead altogether, but again Bauer would ring up two more batters whiffing, bringing his teammates back to the plate in a brand new ball game.
The tie game would last just two batters into the top of the fifth. Ramirez continued to rack up doubles with a shot to left off of Fister and Encarnacion sent him home with a clout over the Green Monster and out onto Lansdowne Street to give the Indians the lead back at 5-3. Fister would last two more batters and the Indians would strand a pair against left-hander Fernando Abad, but a seven-batter inning had them back on top.
Bauer K’d two in the fifth, his fourth straight inning doing so, before his offense rewarded him again. After a foul out by Lindor and a grounder to third by Jason Kipnis, Ramirez reached on an error at third. Heath Hembree came on in relief for the righty-righty matchup, but he was no match for Encarnacion, who put a souvenir atop the Monster for his second two-run shot in as many innings to make it a 7-3 game.
Bauer had to work around some trouble again in the sixth, but escaped. With one down, Mitch Moreland doubled and, one batter later, Bogaerts walked to put two on with two outs but, for the fifth time on the night, Bauer tallied a two-strikeout inning by striking out Brock Holt. The Tribe starter would exit with two down in the bottom of the next inning after a two-out single by Eduardo Nunez, but the Tribe bullpen was able to hold the four-run edge behind a scoreless inning from Tyler Olson, one-third of an inning from Bryan Shaw, and one more from Joe Smith.
The Red Sox (67-51) dropped a rare home game, falling to 36-21 on the season in Boston.
Bauer (11-8, 4.75 ERA) let the Red Sox back into the game with three solo homers, but shut it down once the Indians gave him back the lead. He would work six and two-thirds innings on the night, allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks and eleven strikeouts. Fister (2-6, 5.56) suffered another loss for the Red Sox, allowing five runs on seven hits in four and one-third innings. He threw 96 pitches in that span, walking four and striking out five.
The Indians extended their lead to five games over the idle Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. Ramirez, Encarnacion, and Santana each had two hits on the night. Encarnacion drove in four and reached safely in the ninth with a walk. Bruce had a hit and a pair of walks and is now batting .400 as a member of the Indians with a .500 on-base percentage.
While the Red Sox will stay home to host the St. Louis Cardinals for a pair beginning Tuesday night, the Indians’ travels resume as they bounce halfway across the county to the Twin Cities, where they will begin a three-game set Tuesday night with the Twins at 8:10 PM ET. Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.15) will take the mound against the ageless wonder and former Tribe starter Bartolo Colon (4-9, 6.77).
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