Bieber Beats Boston as Sox Lose Rare Third Straight Game; Indians 6, Red Sox 3
Bob Toth | On 21, Aug 2018
For the first time since the end of April, the Red Sox have lost three straight games. This time, they have the Indians to blame for two of those defeats as Shane Bieber took a shutout into the seventh inning and the bottom of the Tribe lineup provided an extra punch in a 6-3 win by Cleveland in Boston.
The Red Sox, who entered the night with a 44-17 record at home, took a second straight loss to the Indians to make it three straight defeats for just the second time this season (the other occurred from April 21 to 24 in Oakland against the A’s and Toronto against the Blue Jays). Boston could get nothing going against the Tribe starter Bieber, finally tallying three runs in the seventh with Cleveland already up by five.
Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi handled the Indians his first trip through the order, but they would strike through for a pair of runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth to chase him from the ball game.
Eovaldi allowed three runners through the first three frames, facing his strongest resistance in the second after a leadoff single from Yandy Diaz and a one-out double by Melky Cabrera. Jason Kipnis grounded to Mitch Moreland and the first baseman fired a strike to the plate, nabbing Diaz trying to score.
In the fourth, the Indians broke through with a two-out rally from the bottom of the order. Cabrera recorded his second straight hit with a single to right and he moved to third on a single by Kipnis. Yan Gomes drove in a run with a single to center and Greg Allen did the same with a double towards the left field corner, putting Cleveland up, 2-0. The hit for Allen improved his hitting streak to 14 straight games, extending a career-high.
The Indians wasted a leadoff double by Michael Brantley in the fifth, but they doubled their fun in the sixth to knock Eovaldi out. Cabrera led off the inning with a deep drive to right-center that hit the top of the wall and bounced over for his third hit of the game, making it 3-0 on his third straight game with a home run (and his fourth homer in the last six games and fifth in his last nine). Gomes and Allen reached on back-to-back one-out singles, sending Alex Cora out to retrieve his starter. Joe Kelly came in and struck out Francisco Lindor for the second out, but Brantley drove in the fourth run of the night with a single to center. He was thrown out trying to advance to second on the hit after Cora challenged the initial safe ruling.
Bieber struck out four through the first three innings, facing the minimum, before allowing a one-out single to Andrew Benintendi in the fourth. He was erased on a double play groundout by J.D. Martinez. He worked a perfect fifth with another strikeout and stranded Eduardo Nunez at second in the sixth after his leadoff double.
After the Indians pushed their lead to 5-0 in the top of the seventh, the Red Sox finally got to the Tribe’s rookie righty in the home half. Three straight hits to start the inning put the Red Sox on the board as Benintendi doubled, Martinez singled him to third, and the first runner scored on another two-base hit from Xander Bogaerts. Moreland made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly to center, ending Bieber’s night. Adam Cimber was the first man out of the ‘pen and induced a grounder to second by Ian Kinsler, sending Bogaerts across the plate to cut the deficit to two runs. Cimber got a second grounder to end the rally.
Gomes got the run back for Cleveland in the top of the eighth, launching his 12th homer of the season over the Green Monster against Tyler Thornburg to move the score to 6-3.
Andrew Miller pitched a perfect eighth, striking out a pair while looking sharp overall. Brad Hand handled the ninth quietly, not letting a dropped ball by Kipnis for what should have been the final out derail his outing, as he struck out his second batter of the inning – retiring Moreland swinging – to record his fifth save with the Tribe.
The Indians (73-52) moved to a season-high 21 games over .500 with the victory and increased their lead in the American League Central to 13 games over the Minnesota Twins. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth has dropped to 25.
Bieber took his quality start one out into the seventh inning. He was charged with three runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw just 82 pitches, but got the hook the third time through when the Red Sox seemed to find their way against him. Bieber improved to 7-2 on the season with the victory.
Eovaldi dropped to 5-5 on the season after a tough night. He allowed four runs on ten hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The hard-throwing right-hander was over the plate for much of the night, possibly to a fault, as the Indians racked up hits against him and missed few of his offerings throughout the game.
The bottom four hitters in the Indians lineup picked up the slack for a slumping top half. Lindor went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and Ramirez was 0-for-3 with a pair of walks, a run scored, and a strikeout to drop his season average down to .296. The six-hitter Cabrera had hits in each of his first three at bats, scored twice, and drove in a run. Gomes had a three hit game of his own, scoring twice and driving in a pair.
The Indians will look to earn a series win on Wednesday in game three of four from Fenway Park.
Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.33 ERA) will look to continue an incredible run for Cleveland since being activated from the disabled list in July. He is 7-1 with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in nine games in that span, including a 3-1 mark in August with a 0.98 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. Left-hander Brian Johnson (4-3, 4.00), 27, will counter for the BoSox in his tenth start of the season. He is 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP when working for the Red Sox in the rotation.
First pitch from Fenway is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images