Sox pitchers get thrown for loss
It seemed like a textbook situation - tie ballgame, top of the eighth inning - in which to summon Daniel Bard from the bullpen.
After all, who better than Bard to ensure that the Red Sox would get a chance to pull it out in the ninth, especially after he’d strung together 26 1/3 scoreless innings over his last 25 games dating to May 27?
Problem was, Bard failed to get the job done in last night’s 9-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,943.
Bard (1-5, 2.28 ERA) absorbed the loss after giving up three runs on two hits in the eighth. Two of the runs came on Asdrubal Cabrera’s second homer of the night, a shot to right that broke a 5-5 tie. It was Cabrera who had last driven in a run against Bard, with an RBI double in the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss at Cleveland May 23, which dropped Bard’s record to 1-4.
“I don’t really care about it,’’ Bard said of losing his scoreless-innings streak, which was the longest in club history for a reliever since Bob Stanley put up 27 1/3 from July 29 to Sept. 1, 1980. “It went way longer than I probably ever expected it would. I’m all about trying to help the team win and tonight I didn’t do that.’’
Cabrera’s homer initially was ruled a single after it appeared to carom off the top of the half-wall in right and bounce back onto the field. Cabrera said when he saw “it hit someone in the stands,’’ he thought he was deserving of more than a single.
Cleveland manager Manny Acta asked plate umpire Mike Estabrook to look at the play, and Estabrook ruled it a homer after replays showed the ball hit a female fan in the first row just beyond Pesky’s Pole on the left knee.
“When I saw it in person, it looked like it hit off the top of the wall and kicked back in,’’ Bard said. “But I guess further review showed it hit off a lady’s knee, so it looks they got it right.’’
It was the second multiple-homer game in Cabrera’s career; he had a pair vs. Cincinnati May 22. He has 19 homers this season after entering 2011 with 18 in his career.
Bard was not the sole culprit for the setback, however.
Although he took a no-decision, starter John Lackey gave up back-to-back homers in the sixth to Cabrera, whose two-run shot to right gave the Indians a 4-3 lead, and Travis Hafner.
“When he gave them a pitch to hit, they didn’t miss,’’ said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, whose broken-bat, two-run homer off starter Josh Tomlin tied it at 5 in the bottom of the sixth.
“But he was sharp,’’ Saltalamacchia said. “He used all his pitches. I thought his velocity was good, curveball, changeup. So to me I thought he looked good.’’
Looking for his 10th win of the season and his fifth in as many starts, Lackey opened the game with a pair of scoreless innings.
“Felt strong, started off well, and arm felt good,’’ Lackey said. “I was locating well and establishing in pretty well against some lefthanders. I was just disappointed that I made a couple of mistakes later on that cost me.’’
The Sox pushed across the game’s first run in the second on Marco Scutaro’s single to right that plated Saltalamacchia, whose ground-rule double to right extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Lackey squandered that in the third, when Michael Brantley’s double to right drove in Ezequiel Carrera, who reached on a two-out single to right-center and advanced to second on right fielder Josh Reddick’s throwing error.
The Sox answered with a pair of runs in their half on Kevin Youkilis’s run-scoring triple to center, and Carl Crawford’s solo homer into the visitor’s bullpen.
Cleveland pulled within 3-2 in the fourth when Kosuke Fukudome hit a fielder’s choice that drove in Cabrera (single to right).
Lackey unraveled in the sixth when he gave up three runs, including the back-to-back homers.
“He made some mistakes and paid for ’em,’’ said manager Terry Francona.
The Sox got Lackey off the hook in the bottom of the inning on Saltalamacchia’s broken-bat homer, which scored Crawford, who hit a one-out double.
Lackey was done for the evening with two outs in the seventh after a sharply struck single up the middle by Carrera. He gave up five runs on eight hits. Franklin Morales ended the inning by fanning Brantley.
After Bard lost his scoreless-innings streak, Matt Albers had his season-high of 13 2/3 scoreless innings snapped by Jason Kipnis’s solo homer in the ninth.
The Sox got their final run in the ninth on a Jacoby Ellsbury ground-rule double.
“Streak or no streak, we just just have to move forward,’’ Bard said.
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.