Sox sweep Indians, 6-1; 9:41
In a strong tuneup before the playoffs, the Sox took three in this four-game set against the Cleveland Indians with a 6-1 victory Thursday night before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,726.
Jonathan Papelbon, who recorded his 41st save of the season in Tuesday night's 5-4 victory over the Indians that clinched the Sox fifth playoff berth in the last six years, closed it out with a strong 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. It helped make a winner of Jon Lester (16-6), who flirted with a no-hitter, before his bid for a second career no hitter was broken up by Josh Barfield's lead-off double to left in the sixth.
Lester wound up going six innings and allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out four.
Kevin Youkilis provided the offensive punch, going 2 for 3 with a walk, while stroking his 28th homer of the season on a 1-0 pitch from reliever Tom Mastny in the seventh. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie, batting first and second, respectively, combined to go 4-for-8, with a pair of doubles and four runs scored.
Bring on the Yankees.
Pap in the game to close it; 9:29
Jonathan Papelbon is now in the game in the ninth, with ``Shipping up to Boston'' blaring from Fenway's loudspeakers, in relief of Hideki Okajima (1 inning, 1 strikeout). Also, Jonathan Van Every has checked in at right field.
Yooooouk! Part 2; 9:16
Youkilis took Mastny deep over The Wall for a solo shot (his 28th homer of the season) on a 1-0 pitch that gave the Sox a 6-1 lead.
Hideki Okajima has come into the game in the eighth in relief of Masterson (1 inning, 1 strikeout).
Tom Mastny in for Indians; 9:08
RHP Tom Mastny has entered the game in the bottom of the seventh in relief of Jeremy Sowers (6 innings, 5 runs, 7 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 1 hit batter; 95 pitches).
Velazquez stays in at short, Masterson in; 9:02
Justin Masterson has entered the game at the top of the seventh in relief of Lester (6 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 1 hit batsman, 1 balk, 1 wild pitch; 86 pitches) while Gil Velazquez will remain in the game at short stop for Alex Cora, who limped off after getting hit on the right hip by Sowers in the bottom of the sixth with the Sox leading, 5-1.
Now THAT's going to leave a mark, Part 2; 8:56
Gil Velazquez, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Pawtucket and called up from Fort Myers today, entered the game in the bottom of the sixth to make his Major League debut after Jeremy Sowers plunked Alex Cora on his right hip.
Barfield breaks it up; 8:40
Cleveland second baseman Josh Barfield, batting ninth in the Indians lineup, broke up Jon Lester's bid for a second career no-hitter after he doubled to left to lead off the top of the sixth. Barfield had grounded out to third in his only other at-bat in the third inning.
Barfield, who advanced to third on a balk charged to Lester, also scored Cleveland's first run of the game when he tallied on Jamey Carroll's RBI scorched single past the diving Pedroia. Lester got out of the inning by inducing Ben Francisco to fly to right and striking out Jhonny Peralta on his 86th pitch of the night (a 95-m.p.h. fastball).
Lester looking good through five; 8:36
Jon Lester has not allowed a hit and has had only two baserunners reach (on a walk to Kelly Shoppach in the second and a Grady Sizemore plunking in third) after five innings pitched. Lester has three strikeouts and 72 pitches. Don't want to jinx it, but he's looking good.
Also, Dustin Pedroia legged out a basehit to lead off the bottom of the inning, beating a throw to first by third baseman Jamey Carroll. Pedroia recorded his 211th hit of the season. It moved him into fifth place on the all-time club list, breaking a tie with Wade Boggs, who had 210 hits in 1983. Pedroia also became the first Sox player to record 200 hits in a season since Mo Vaughn had 205 in 1998.
Ouch! Now that's going to leave a mark, 8:05
It was just announced in the press box that when Grady Sizemore reached base on a hit by pitch from Lester it marked the 101st for the Indians, setting a new club and major league record Cleveland shared with the Houston Astros, who had 100 in 1997.
Lowrie and Youk give Sox a 5-0 lead, bottom of 2d; 7;49
Lowrie and Youkilis gave the Sox a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Lowrie came up with one out against Sowers and doubled to left to score Ellsbury, who led off with a scorching double down the line to right. With two out, Youk then singled to left, scoring Lowrie with Boston's fifth unanswered run of the night. Score: Red Sox 5, Indians 0.
Hey, don't look now, but it's Patriots all-time great Troy Brown, being interviewed by Heidi Watney in the box seats in the suite level. Brown announced today at Foxborough that he was retiring after 15 seasons with Patriots.
Sox first basemen Kevin Youkilis made a nice defensive play with a diving stab of Travis Hafner's grounder. Youkilis knocked the ball down, then made the heads-up play of flipping it to Sox starter Jon Lester, who stepped on the bag (right foot, then left foot) to get Hafner for the second out of the inning.
Lester got out of the inning by inducing Ryan Garko to ground out to third baseman Jed Lowrie, enabling the Sox to retain a 3-0 lead headed into the bottom half of the second inning.
Tek, Kotsay increase Sox lead to 3-0 in bottom of first; 7:24
After Sowers issued walks to Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay to load the bases for Jason Varitek, the Sox captain responded with a towering sacrifice fly to deep center that tallied Jed Lowrie (double to center) on the tag-up from third. Mark Kotsay came up next and gave the Sox a 3-0 lead when he doubled to left, coming up a bit gimpy after he slid awkwardly into second base, tweaking his right ankle. Kostay remained in the game, however.
Sowers got out of the inning when he induced Jeff Bailey to ground out to third.
Sox take 1-0 lead with 1 out in bottom of first; 7:16
Dustin Pedroia, bolstering his candidacy for MVP (Most Valuable Pedroia?), just gave the Sox a 1-0 lead. With two men on and no outs, Pedroia hit a towering sacrifice fly to deep center, allowing Jacoby Ellsbury (who reached on a lead-off double against Cleveland starter Jeremy Sowers) to tag up from third and score the first run of the game.