Things started well for the Indians’ offense when Francisco Lindor tied the game at one all with his leadoff homer off of Doug Fister in the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately for Cleveland, that would be the highlight of the night as the Boston starter allowed just three more base runners and no more hits on the way to a complete game one-hitter in a 9-1 Red Sox rout of the Indians on Tuesday night.
Fister, making his third start in his last four outings against the Indians, held the Tribe bats in check in throwing his first complete game since 2014. He worked quickly and efficiently and he was supported by more than enough runs from his teammates, who piled on against starter Carlos Carrasco.
The Red Sox got to Carrasco early to take a 1-0 lead. Mookie Betts singled with one out but was erased on a fielder’s choice. Andrew Benintendi, who reached safely on the play, stole second base and came in to score on a two-out single to center by Hanley Ramirez.
Lindor started and ended the Indians’ offense for the day in the next half inning, sending the third pitch of the home half of the first deep to right.
Boston reclaimed the lead for good in the second, responding to the Lindor shot. Xander Bogaerts doubled to center and moved to third on a groundout by Mitch Moreland. A sacrifice fly by Sandy Leon made it a 2-1 game.
The score would remain the same until the top of the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. extended the Red Sox’s lead to 3-1 with a solo homer to center.
The Indians would get their leadoff man on in the home half of the fifth as Brandon Guyer walked, but for the second time on the night, a Cleveland batter grounded into a double play to eliminate the few base runners it would see. Guyer would be the last batter to reach base against Fister.
Carrasco struck out three in the sixth around a one-out walk, but got into trouble in the seventh as the game grew out of hand. Leon was hit by a pitch with one out and Bradley singled him to second. Eduardo Nunez delivered the big blow, hitting a double high off of the wall in left to score a pair (after manager Terry Francona’s request for a review of Bradley’s safe slide into home plate was upheld). Two batters later, Benintendi doubled to left, scoring Nunez and ending Carrasco’s outing.
Nunez came up big again in the eighth against the Tribe bullpen. Zach McAllister, who came on for Carrasco to retire the final out of the seventh, got the first two outs in the eighth before Leon singled to right. Shawn Armstrong, freshly recalled from Triple-A Columbus, gave up a single to left center to Chris Young before Nunez cleared the wall with a three-run shot to make it a 9-1 contest.
Fister stayed in the game to complete his one-hitter, retiring the final 14 batters in order after the Guyer walk to earn his third win of the season and his second against the Indians.
Carrasco was tagged for six runs on eight hits in six and two-thirds innings. He was able to give the Indians some length after the rough start early, but was hit hard in his final frame of work to double the damage done against him. He walked one and struck out six, throwing 72 of 103 pitches for strikes on the night.
Boston moved to 72-53 with the win and maintained a four and a half game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. Cleveland fell to 69-55 on the year, losing a game to the Minnesota Twins to see its AL Central lead shrink back to four and a half games.
Lindor’s homer was his 21st of the season and marked the first time in his career that he had hit a leadoff shot. Boston’s leadoff man Nunez did not hit a leadoff homer, but he had a pair of hits, scored twice, and drove in five runs with his two extra base hits.
Injuries hit both clubs during the contest. The Indians, who earlier in the day placed reliever Andrew Miller and starter Danny Salazar back on the disabled list and lost Carlos Santana to a lower back injury on Monday, saw Jason Kipnis exit the game in the bottom of the third inning with right hamstring tightness. The Red Sox lost Bradley Jr. to a left thumb injury in the top of the seventh.
The game was delayed one hour and 13 minutes at the start due to heavy rains covering the northeast Ohio area.
With the series even at one game each, Cleveland and Boston will get back at it on Wednesday night in a 7:10 PM ET first pitch from Progressive Field. Former Tribe left-hander Drew Pomeranz (12-4, 3.31 ERA) will make his start for the Red Sox. He left his last outing against the Yankees early while dealing with lower back spasms. Corey Kluber (12-3, 2.67) will continue his Cy Young pursuits in a similar situation to Pomeranz, as he also left his last start early with a mild sprain of his right ankle.
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