Final: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: After absorbing a 12-3 beatdown in the first game of this four-game series against the Indians, the Red Sox bounced back in a huge way Friday night before a rain-soaked Fenway Park crowd of 34,074.
After a rain delay of some 44 minutes, the Sox took the field and got seven strong innings from John Lackey and a four-run eruption in the seventh inning that broke the game wide open.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: Vinnie Pestano entered the game in the frame in relief of Matt Albers and retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion.
Alfredo Aceves, the recalcitrant reliever who was banished to Pawtucket then summoned Friday to bolster the bullpen, was summoned to start the ninth to close it out for the Sox.
Top 8th: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: Yeoman's effort by Lackey, who submitted his fourth quality start of the season. Lackey handed it over to Koji Uehara, who gave up a lead-off double to Michael Brantley, but stranded him at third to keep the Indians in check.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: Jose Iglesias, called up from Triple-A Pawtucket Friday after the Sox placed third baseman Will Middlebrooks (low back strain on the 15-day disabled list, came through with a single to left that loaded the bases for Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury, who had hit .500 (2-for-4) this season with the bases loaded, came up and delivered a clutch 2-RBI single to right off left reliever Rich Hill, who entered the game after Justin Masterson gave up a lead-off double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Hill then hit pinch-hitter Johnny Gomes on the leg before striking out Stephen Drew (swinging) with a 72 slider.
Iglesias set the table for Ellsbury, whose two-run hit gave him 5 RBIs for the season with the bases loaded.
After Daniel Nava popped to third base for the second out of the inning, Indians manager Terry Francona drew a rousing cheer (for the second time in as many pitching changes) when he went out to summon Matt Albers from the bullpen.
Dustin Pedroia greeted Albers with a hard-hit, 2-RBI single to right that drove in Iglesias and Ellsbury for a seven-run lead.
Uehara entered the game in the top of the eighth in relief of Lackey (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K).
Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Indians 1: John Lackey departed to a thunderous ovation after he struck out Mark Reynolds with an 86 cutter to retire the side. It was Lackey's eighth strikeout of the game after throwing a season-high 109 pitches.
It was probably Lackey's last inning of the night, especially when Koji Uehara began warming up for the Sox in the bottom of the seventh.
Bottom 6th, Red Sox 4, Indians 1: Sox pushed across an insurance run on Mike Napoli's bases-loaded fielder's choice that scored Daniel Nava, who reached after getting hit by a pitch. David Ortiz, who loaded the bases with his bloop single to shallow left, was forced out at second and Dustin Pedroia, who singled to left, wound up getting thrown out at home by Nick Swisher for the inning-ending 6-4, 3-2 double play.
Top 6th, Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Lackey showcased his ability to field his position when he made the first putout of the inning -- from his knees, no less -- when he chased down Michael Bourn's infield dribbler and threw him out at first.
After walking Jason Kipnis, snapping his string of eight consecutive retired batters, Lackey got Asdrubal Cabrera to line out to first and then struck out Nick Swisher (swinging) with a 93 fastball that illicited a show of emotion from Lackey, who pumped his fist as he left the mound.
Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Lackey continues to cruise, despite having to contend with inclement conditions. He sandwiched a pair of strikeouts of Mark Reynolds (93 fastball) and Drew Stubbs (86 cutter) around a Michael Brantley ground out to short to make quick work of the Indians.
Lackey has five strikeouts through the first five innings.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: No heavy lifting for Masterson in this 1-2-3 inning as he retired David Ortiz (ground out to first), Mike Napoli (strikeout looking), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (ground out to third) in order.
Masterson threw 66 pitches, 40 strikes, through the first four innings, nearly matching his Boston counterpart, Lackey, who threw 65 pitches (42 strikes) over that same stretch.
Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Quick inning for Lackey, who needed only 10 pitches to retire the side in order.
Bottom 3d: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Masterson kept the Sox in check after giving up a one-out single to right by Daniel Nava. Dustin Pedroia came up and helped Masterson's cause by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Top 3d: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Mark Reynolds, who reached on a lead-off single to left, got one back for the Indians when he went to second on Michael Brantley's base hit and then stole third, drawing an errant throw from Saltalamacchia, who air mailed it into left field. Score Salty with an error and the Indians with an unearned first run.
Lackey, who labored in the inning after throwing 27 pitches, wound up getting Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out to first to end the inning.
Bottom 2d: Red Sox 3, Indians 0: Left fielder Mike Carp belted a three-run homer to the Sox bullpen, driving a 1-and-1 slider from Masterson deep to right field. Carp snapped an 0-for-21 slump with his third homer of the season.
Carp pushed across David Ortiz, who drew a lead-off walk, went to second on Mike Napoli's single to center. Ortiz tagged up and went to third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's flyball out to right, setting the stage for Carp to clear the bases.
Top 2d: Indians 0, Red Sox 0: Nice glove work by Dustin Pedroia, who made a diving stab of Jason Giambi's sharply-struck groundball up the middle. Pedroia made the stop, then flipped the ball to short stop Stephen Drew for the force out at second on Carlos Santana, who drew a one-out walk. Drew turned the 4-6-3 double play on Giambi at first to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Indians 0, Red Sox 0: Justin Masterson (why can the Sox get guys like him?) was equally as efficient as he retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury before inducing both Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia to hit ground outs to first base.
Top 1st: Indians 0, Red Sox 0: After a 44-minute delay of the scheduled 7:10 p.m. start, Lackey was first out of the Red Sox dugout to take the field at 7:54 p.m. Lackey worked quickly and efficiently in poor conditions, retiring the top of the Indians order in 1-2-3 fashion with a pair of strikeouts.
Pregame: Greetings from a rain-soaked Fenway Park where Friday night's game between the Red Sox and the visiting Indians has been delayed until 7:50 p.m. The Sox will send RHP John Lackey (2-4, 3.31 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83 ERA). We're up in the press box at Fenway, trying to dry out after a soaking walk from the media lot to the park, hoping you stay warm and dry.
As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.