From his seat on the bench in the Red Sox dugout, Mike Carp has become adept at deciphering when manager John Farrell will put him into the game.
It requires thinking a bit like a manager, projecting how the game will unfold, and when the opposition will have a righthander on the mound in a critical spot.
Carp, a lefthanded hitter, has hit righthanders well all season and is rarely overmatched by a fastball.
On Saturday, the puzzle was easy to solve. The Cleveland Indians had a one-run lead on the Red Sox in the eighth inning and were trying to get the ball to their closer, Chris Perez, in the ninth.
Manager Terry Francona seemed sure to use righthander Vinny Pestano, his usual set-up man. Carp knew that if at least one of his teammates got on base, he would likely hit for Jonny Gomes.
Once Pedro Ciriaco doubled with one out, Carp grabbed a bat. He lined a two-out double off the wall in left field to tie the game.
He then scored the go-ahead run on a double by Dustin Pedroia. By the time the inning was over, the Red Sox had scored four runs and went on to a 7-4 victory.
The Sox, at 30-20, are of to their best start through 50 games since the 2008 team was 31-19.
“These kind of wins are fun,” said Carp, who has become one of the most productive part-time players in the game.
Carp is 15 of 50 (.300) over 25 games with 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. That includes being 3 for 10 as a pinch hitter with three RBIs. Against the Indians, he is 6 for 12 with three doubles, a triple, a home run, and six RBIs.
Daniel Nava, who has been a bench player in his career, understands the challenge.
“It's tough. You're sitting three hours, three-and-a-half hours and all of a sudden it's time to go up there and you've got the game on the line,” he said. “That's not an easy thing to do. [Carp] did a great job of coming up there, being relaxed, and sticking with a good approach on a good pitcher."
See the Globe tomorrow for much more from Carp.
• Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco were 6 for 8 with three runs scored and an RBI at the bottom of the order.
Iglesias is 13 of 27 in eight major league games and the Sox are 7-1 when he starts. He's making a nice case for himself to play more. It'll be interesting to see how long he can keep this up. Six of the 13 hits are infield hits and Iglesias is a wholly unsustainable 13 of 22 (.591) on balls in play. The average is around .300.
• David Ross wore his usual goalie-style catcher’s helmet on Saturday against the Indians. But in his first game back after suffering a concussion on May 11, Ross took extra precautions. Ross wore a Kevlar skullcap under his helmet, a stretchy material fitting around his head like a beanie. The device, designed for pitchers, was an extra layer of protection. The trainers also attached some gel padding inside his helmet in the front.
“The two balls that got me hit my mask right where forehead is and that scared me,” Ross said. "I was willing to do anything to get a little more protection.”
Ross sent one of his masks out to get fitted with an interior layer of Kevlar. Until it comes back, he’ll wear the black skullcap.
• Jon Lester threw 124 pitches, matching the third-most in his career. He allowed a season-high 10 hits but also struck out eight.
• The Indians had been undefeated (21-0) when leading after seven innings. Today marked their first loss by a reliever all season. Vinnie Pestano (1-1) allowed four runs on four hits and two walks.
• The Red Sox have played 50 games and 444.2 innings this season. Dustin Pedroia has started every game and played 441.2 innings. He has reached base safely in 45 of the 50 games and had hits in 39 of them. Today was his 22nd game with two or more hits.
Jose Iglesias hasn't necessarily been shy about how much he wants to be on the big league roster.
"I feel comfortable here," he said. "I feel really comfortable here."
With Stephen Drew taking the day off to rest, Iglesias took the opportunity to shine, going 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored as the Sox rallied to beat the Indians 7-4. After starting the season with the with the parent club, he had been in Pawtucket since April, when Drew returned from a concussion.
There were signs that he wasn't altogether happy about being there. He was benched earlier this month by PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina for not hustling down the line on a ground ball. But called back up on Friday with a Sox in a pinch after putting third baseman Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list, he could possibly be playing himself into a position as an extra infielder.
"It's clear he's extremely confident and he believes in himself," Sox manager John Farrell said. "You see it in his actions, the way he carries himself. It's not in a disrespectful way. He is very sure of himself. We saw it as spring training unfolded. It was reinforced in the time he was here through the time he was here before Stephen [Drew] returned to us. He comes back to us again and he's a strong believer in himself and his abilities to play at this level."
The major league atmosphere has an impact on Iglesias's performance. He now has 13 hits in 27 major league at-bats compared 24 in 119 in the minors.
"You've got the motivation here to win the game," Iglesias said. "We've got a reason to play 100 percent, for the fans, for you guys, for the team, for the organization. Up there [in Pawtucket] it's kind of difficult. You still want to win. You still try to do your best but you go to the field and you see three people in the stands, it's cold weather, it's kind of tough. You've got to push yourself a little harder."
There's also a comfort level in the clubhouse, where he's locker neighbors with slugger and leader David Ortiz.
"I think that comes from being around these guys and getting along with everybody and being consistent with my workouts and my routine," Iglesias said. "That's basically what I've been doing. That's where my confidence comes from."
With a four-run eighth inning, the Red Sox rallied to take their second straight game from the Cleveland Indians 7-4.
After smashing a three-run homer in Friday night's win, Mike Carp came on to pinch hit and roped an RBI double to left. Then Dustin Pedroia (2 for 4) followed up with an run-scoring double of his own to put the Sox ahead.
On an afternoon when rainy conditions made things difficult in the field, the Sox caught a break. After David Ortiz was intentionally walked, Daniel Nava popped one up to shallow left but both shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and left fiedler Michael Brantley lost it. It dropped in allowing Pedroia and Ortiz to score, giving the Sox insurance.
Jon Lester struck out eight in seven innings, but didn't factor into the decision. Junichi Tazawa (4-2) picked up the win after throwing a scoreless eighth, and Andrew Bailey earned his sixth save, pitching pitched a clean ninth.FULL ENTRY
A day after he started at third base, Jose Iglesias is shifting to shortstop for the Red Sox. Pedro Ciriaco is starting at third base and Stephen Drew is on the bench against lefthander Scott Kazmir.
"Day game after a night game, trying to get another righthanded bat in there," John Farrell said. "Feel like Stephen probably can use a day [off]. As we've been rotation our positions players through, kind of normal scheduling situation."
Drew is hitless in his last 17 at-bats since wrenching his back on an awkward slide in Minnesota on May 17.
"He's felt some soreness from it. But it hasn't been to the point of keeping him out of the lineup once he returned," Farrell said. "Just managing it as everyone else manages what they're banged-up with."
Has the injury affected his swing?
"I can't say it hasn't. Whether it's the aggressiveness in which he's swung the bat. Just in talking with Stephen, I can't say it's restricted his swing or the extension to it. It might just be the overall aggressiveness. All things considered that's why today was a natural down day for him."
• The Sox will discuss Franklin Morales today. The lefty has been on the disabled list all season and is now ready to pitch after going through a minor league rehab assignment. So what now?
"One of two things. Either he's activated and put in the bullpen here or he makes one more additional rehab start. Those are ongoing conversations," Farrell said. "I think we'll come to probably a more clear direction by the end of the day."
Because Morales had his original 30-day rehab assignment stopped and started up again, the Sox could keep him on the disabled list until June 5.
Morales went five innings on Thursday, so he would not be available until Tuesday at the earliest if the Sox wait four days.
Part of the issue is that the Red Sox kind of like their bullpen the way it is. Morales would give them three lefties. Clayton Mortensen is out of options and Alex Wilson has pitched well.
• Dustin Pedroia has yet to get a day off. Don't expect that to change any time soon.
"I'll probably look and he'll probably continue to be in the lineup," Farrell said. "As we know, he's not a guy who's looking to come out of the lineup. Whether it's 162 [games], there may be a time along the way that we give him a break. But right now he's still going strong."
The tarp is down at Fenway Park. But the Red Sox think they're going to play at 1:35 p.m. The latest information from the team is:
The current forecast for today's game calls for the chance for intermittent light rain showers and mist at Fenway during the afternoon hours. All Fenway Park gates will open on time at 12:05 p.m. and we hope to begin today's game as scheduled at 1:35 pm.
The Indians have a day game in Cincinnati on Monday, so a day/night doubleheader on Sunday would not suit them very well.
If and when this changes, we will post updates here.
Good morning. Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (29-20)
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.15).
Pitching: LHP Scott Kazmir (2-2, 6.35).
Game time: 1:35 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.
Red Sox vs. Kazmir: Ortiz 10-52, Pedroia 20-42, Ellsbury 7-26, Salty 0-7, Napoli 0-4.
Indians vs. Lester: Swisher 15-49, Cabrera 4-19, Reynolds 5-15, Raburn 2-9, Santana 2-7, Aviles 1-7, Brantley 1-8, Bourn 2-7, Giambi 2-6, Gomes 1-3, Phelps 0-2, Stubbs 0-2.
Stat of the Day: The Sox are +43 in run differential in 24 games played on the road (15-9) and -7 in 25 games played at home (14-11). They are averaging 5.25 runs on the road and 4.52 runs at home.
Notes: Lester is 6-1, 3.27 in 12 career starts against the Indians, 3-0, 1.04 in the last four. That includes a victory on April 18 in Cleveland that saw him allow two runs over seven innings. ... Kazmir is facing the Red Sox for the first time since Aug. 10, 2010 when he was with the Angels. He is 8-8, 4.06 in 25 career starts against the Sox, 6-5, 3.90 in 15 starts at Fenway. Kazmir allowed nine runs in eight innings in his last two starts. ... The Sox are 2-6 in their last eight home games. ... Ellsbury has hit in four straight at 5 of 14 with two runs scored and three walks. ... Andrew Miller's last 6 outings: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. ... Pedroia is hitting .391 at home and has hit safely in 24 of 25 games at Fenway Park. ... Drew is 0 for his last 17 since returning from a two-game absence with a back injury. That has dropped his average from .238 to .205. ... Koji Uehara's last 7 appearances: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 K. He has not allowed a run in 18 of his 21 outings. ... Saltalamacchia has started six straight games. He has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games, hitting 15 of 47 (.319 in the process).
Song of the Day: "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk (featuring Pharrell Williams). Download now, it'll be the big hit of the summer.
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.
The Red Sox placed third baseman Will Middlebrooks and outfielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list, the team announced Friday.
Infielder Jose Iglesias and pitcher Alfredo Aceves were called up from Triple A Pawtucket, and Iglesias is slated to start Friday night's game vs. the Indians at third base.
Iglesias, who started the season as the Red Sox shortstop while Stephen Drew was on the disabled list, had been practicing at third and second base in anticipation of a potential utility role in Boston. Iglesias played third for Pawtucket Tuesday.
Middlebrooks left Thursday's game at Fenway because of back spasms. The injury initially cropped up in his last at-bat against the White Sox in Chicago Wednesday, though he made no mention of it.
After Middlebrooks had an MRI, the team's medical staff determined that in the best-case scenario, it would take "a minimum three to five days just to get ahead of it," said manager John Farrell. And being a position player short, Farrell said it made sense to send Middlebrooks to the DL.
"He felt a little bit of a stretching sensation or something awkward on that final swing that he took when he grounded the ball out to third base and he was running down the line," said Farrell. "Then in the two at-bats last night, it continued to tighten up on him.
"The MRI showed inflammation in the muscle that surrounds either side. So given where we are with the roster position player-wise, we had to make a move and really [it's] precautionary to Will."
Victorino, whose move to the DL was retroactive to Tuesday, left Monday's game against the White Sox with a left hamstring injury and has missed the three games since. He has dealt with back and rib injuries already this season, and the hope is that two weeks off will allow him to get back to 100 percent.
"I'm frustrated, but I think the overall understanding is it's probably better," Victorino said. "I don't want to be that guy and play half a game and have something resurface and then somebody else has got to go and play for me. I'm just not that kind of player and that kind of stuff frustrates me. I never want to have to put somebody in that situation."
Catcher David Ross was activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list, and Ryan Lavarnway was sent down to Pawtucket. Ross played in a rehab game for the Double A Portland Sea Dogs Thursday. He had been placed on the concussion DL May 12 after being hit in the mask by foul balls twice.
"We're just going through a rough patch in general right now," Ross said. "Guys are getting nicked up and dinged up. Just part of this game.
"These guys, they play hard, they go hard, they're busting it down the line every time. These guys go out there and put their hearts and their bodies on the line. It's just part of it."
Some other notes:
• Iglesias played third base for the first time Tuesday, with about three days of preparation, but Farrell called him the team's "best candidate internally."
He said Iglesias was "a guy we'll feel confident will come up and play and play well enough at the position."
There were obvious nerves for Iglesias playing at the corner for the first time for Pawtucket.
"Everything is new," he said. "I don't even know little things like where I should throw, where I should be."
He booted the first ball that came his way, but fielded his next four chances cleanly.
"That was my first game at third in my life," Iglesias said. "It was fun. I was able to make some plays. It's different. It's a lot different. Just see the ball, catch the ball, make the throw and help the team, that's the bottom line.
In the Boston clubhouse, Iglesias talked with infield coach Brian Butterfield, learning as much as he can on the fly.
"There's going to be different angles we know that he'll take at third base versus in the middle of the diamond at shortstop," Farrell said. "There was three and a half, four days of work prior to his first game in Pawtucket. But yeah, but I think it speaks volumes to he's an infielder and he's got very good instincts and reactions."
• Aceves will likely be used as a multi-inning reliever, Farrell said.
"Given the short start last night, we needed a pitcher in the short term," Farrell said. "At some point, we'd like to get back to a balance of 12 pitchers and 13 position players."
Good afternoon. Here are the lineups.
RED SOX (28-20)
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (2-4, 3.31)
Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83)
Game time: 7:10 p.m.
Red Sox vs. Masterson: Napoli 5-18, Pedroia 3-16, Ortiz 3-13, Ellsbury 4-13, Saltalamacchia 3-11, Drew 1-8, Carp 3-7, Victorino 2-4, Middlebrooks 2-6, Nava 2-4, Gomes 0-1.
Indians vs. Lackey: Swisher 1-11, Giambi 3-14, Cabrera 0-4, Reynolds 1-8, Santana 1-5, Brantley 1-3, Kipnis 1-3, Jimenez 1-2.
Stat of the Day: Masterson, whom the Red Sox drafted in 2006 and traded to the Indians in 2009, brings a 19-inning scoreless streak into tonight's start.
Notes: The Red Sox placed Will Middlebrooks (back strain) and Shane Victorino (hamstring) on the disabled list and called up Jose Iglesias and Alfredo Aceves. David Ross was activated from the concussion DL and Ryan Lavarnway was sent to Pawtucket ... The Red Sox who have faced Justin Masterson have a combined batting average of .277 against him ... The Indians who have faced John Lackey are batting .228 against him ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia has reached base in 13 straight games ... Michael Bourn is 13 for 33 in his last seven games with two doubles, six runs, and four RBIs ... Mike Napoli is second in the majors with 66 strikeouts. Houston's Chris Carter leads with 70 ... The Red Sox have won 9 of 15 series this season. Only Baltimore and St. Louis have won more, with 10 each.
• Terry Francona's Indians rattled off 16 hits and thumped the Red Sox 12-3.
• Chris Gasper writes that Francona's return shows that he's more popular in Boston than ever before.
• Struggling with command issues, Ryan Dempster walked four, gave up 11 hits and left after three innings, having thrown a laborious 85 pitches.
• Shane Victorino (left hamstring) is still day-to-day, and so is Will Middlebrooks after leaving the game in the fourth inning with low back spasms.
Knowing the inevitable attention that would come with his return to Fenway Park as manager of the Cleveland Indians, Terry Francona wanted to be careful not to let the spotlight burn to brightly.
The Indians came in as hot as any team in baseball over the past month. Francona was feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Coming back to face the team he led to two World Series titles would be emotional, obviously, but those feelings couldn't supercede the game.
At the end of the night, the Indians ran away with a 12-3 win, but for a moment after the first inning the Red Sox honored Francona and the handful of Sox-turned-Indians with a video tribute that allowed Francona to soak in a warm reception from the crowd as well as his former players.
"I tried really hard as we talked before the game that I didn't want to make it harder on our players," Francona said. I thought that was unfair. I tried to keep my emotions inside. When they did that thing after the first inning I was honored, and I was also thrilled that they showed Cashie [bullpen coach Kevin Cash], Mike Aviles, Matt [Albers], Rich Hill and then Millsie [third base coach Brad Mills] standing next to me, who is maybe my best friend in life. So, to share that was pretty awesome."
Across the field, John Farrell watched. He, too, is close friends with Francona.
“That video probably could have gone on for quite a while longer,” Farrell said. “Obviously he's in a good place right now.”
Francona was showered with an ovation. The Sox expected nothing less.
"He's one of the best managers that every managed the Red Sox," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He brought a couple World Series titles and I don't think the people are going to forget that. He's well respected and he earned and deserved every bit of it."
Some other quick notes:
• Over his last three starts, Ryan Dempster has thrown 312 pitches. In three innings, he gave four runs on five hits and four walks, but more alarming, he threw 85 pitches.
After putting up a 2.93 ERA in his first seven starts, the number over his past three outings is a bloated 10.66
• David Ortiz's breakdown of his three-run homer was short but sweet.
"Fastball in," he said. "Fastball out."
He blasted a first-pitch fastball from Zach McAllister over the Indians bullpen to give the Sox their only runs of the night.
In the past week, he's hitting .429 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
• Jacoby Ellsbury's bunt single in the third was his first since 2009, when he had eight bunt singles.
In the end, he was thrown out at home, trying to score from second on a Dustin Pedroia single up the middle. He got the green light from third base coach Brian Butterfield.
"He was waved home," Farrell said. "In a situation, with David coming up, you can debate whether that was over-agressive, but Jake's our fastest baserunner. Based on putting pressure on Bourn to throw a strike for 200 feet away, he did. So I've got no problem with the aggressiveness on our part and the decision to made by Butter."
• After throwing out two runners Wednesday night against the White Sox, Jarrod Saltalamacchia nearly cut down Mike Aviles in the fifth inning. His throw got to second in time, but shortstop Stephen Drew couldn't handle it cleanly.
Baserunners had been 19 for 20 against Saltalamacchi before Wednesday.
Saltalamacchia also extended his on-base streak to a career-high 13 games with a walk in the second.
Final: Cleveland 12, Red Sox 3 That's it from Fenway Park, where the Indians made Terry Francona's return as an opposing manager a triumphant one in a 12-3 romp over the Red Sox before a crowd of 35,254.
Bottom 7th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: Scott Barnes entered the game in relief of Cody Allen and retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion. The skies opened up. The Bruins lost in New York in Game 4. And the Sox were hopelessly out of this one. Not a good night in Beantown.
Junichi Tazawa was summoned in the eighth to relieve Craig Breslow.
Top 7th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: Craig Breslow helps turn a 1-6-3 double play to help his cause after hit puts runners on the corners with a one-out walk to Carlos Santana, who drew his fourth walk in as many at-bats, and a single to left by Mark Reynolds (3-for-3 with a walk and 3 RBIs).
Bottom 6th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: Indians righty reliever Cord Allen retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out the first two batters he faced: Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
A loud boo erupted in the stands at 9:46 p.m., but it wasn't aimed at the Red Sox. It was a reaction to the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.
Alex Wilson (1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 K) gave way to Craig Breslow in the top of the 7th.
Top 6th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: After Carlos Santana drew his third walk in his third consecutive at-bat, it spelled the end of Clayton Mortensen's night, who handed the baton to Alex Wilson with none out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth.
The Indians broke out the whuppin' stick on Wilson, who gave up an RBI single to Mark Reynolds (giving him 3 RBIs for the game) and a two-run double to left by catcher Yan Gomes that gave the Indians a six-run lead.
Drew Stubbs rifled a two-run triple over the head of Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, making it 11-3 before Michael Bourn ripped an RBI single to right, scoring Stubbs to make it 12-3.
Wilson struck out Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera to extricate himself from the messy sixth.
Cody Allen relieved Zach McAllister in the bottom of the sixth. McAllister went five innings, allowed three runs on five hits (including a three-run homer) and three walks while striking out five batters. He threw 96 pitches, 61 strikes.
Bottom 5th: Indians 6, Red Sox 3: McAllister struggled in this frame, walking Daniel Nava after recording a punchout of lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, then throwing a wild pitch to David Ortiz to put Nava on second.
McAllister, whose pitch count rose to 96 pitches after five innings, ended the inning when he induced Ortiz to ground to third. Seemed to be McAllister's last out of the night with all the action going on in Cleveland's bullpen.
Top 5th: Indians 6, Red Sox 3: Michael Bourn hit an RBI single to right, scoring Mike Aviles, who hit an infield single that ricocheted off Mortensen and stole second.
The biggest cheer of the inning came when the Bruins scored their third goal of the night to break a 2-2 tie in the third period in Game 4 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Bottom 4th: Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Very economical inning for Mr. McAllister. Three up. Three down. Though four innings, McAllister has thrown 78 pitches, 51 strikes.
Defensive change for Sox: Pedro Ciriaco replaced Will Middlebrooks at third base in the top of the fifth. Middlebrooks struggled at the plate, going 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts.
Update: 9:14 p.m. The Sox announced Middlebrooks left the game with low back spasms.
Top 4th: Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single to left scored Michael Bourn, who reached on a lead-off double off the wall that greeted reliever Clayton Mortensen.
Mortensen got Michael Brantley to fly to center, walked Carlos Santana, then induced Mark Reynolds to ground to short for the inning-ending force out on Santana at second.
Bottom 3d: Indians 4, Red Sox 3: With one mighty swat of his bat, Sox DH David Ortiz pulled the Sox within one run after belting a three-run homer to the bleachers in right. Ortiz clobbered a first-pitch fastball from Zach McAllister for his eighth homer of the season.
Big Papi might have tied it had Jacoby Ellsbury not been thrown out at the plate by center fielder Michael Bourn after Dustin Pedroia laced a single up the middle with two men on. Ortiz made McAllister pay, though.
Clayton Mortensen was summoned to relieve Ryan Dempster (3 IP, 4 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts) in the top of the fourth.
Top 3d: Indians 4, Red Sox 0: Mark Reynolds came to the plate with the bases loaded and ripped an 2-RBI single to left off Ryan Dempster, giving the Indians a three-run lead.
Carlos Santana, who reached on the second of three walks Dempster issued in the inning, made it 4-0 when he scored on Mike Aviles' hard grounder to short that wound up erasing Yan Gomes at second on the force out. Dempster got out of the jam when he struck out Drew Stubbs (looking, 81 splitter). Clayton Mortensen was up in the pen warming up as Dempster walked toward the dugout after throwing 85 pitches through the first three innings.
Bottom 2d: Indians 1, Red Sox 0: Sox threaten when Mike Napoli reaches on a lead-off single to left, goes to second when Jarrod Saltalamacchia draws a walk, and reaches third on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly to center, putting men on the corners with two outs.
Sox unable to push across tying run, however, when Mike Carp grounds to short.
Top 2d: Indians 1, Red Sox 0: With two men aboard, No. 9 hitter Drew Stubbs hit a stubby pop fly to shallow right that eluded the outstretched glove of diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia. It dropped for an RBI double that scored first baseman Carlos Santana, who reached on a leadoff bunt single that did a tight-rope walk down the third base line.
Dempster, who threw 45 pitches (29 strikes) through the first two innings, minimized the damage when he got Michael Bourn to ground to first to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0: Nice video tribute for the former Sox players on Cleveland's roster -- Matt Albers, Mike Aviles, Rich Hill, all of whom received some warm applause. But real ovation broke out -- along with chant's of ``Tito! Tito!'' -- when former Boston manager Terry Francona was shown on the board. It was the highlight of an inning in which the Red Sox only mustered a (well-struck) one-out double to right by Daniel Nava.
Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0: Ryan Dempster allows a single up the middle by Jason Kipnis after recording a game-opening strikeout of Michael Bourn. Kipnis wound up getting stranded at first when Dempster induced Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley to fly to left. Sox left fielder Mike Carp made the last out look a little dicey when the 20-mile-per-hour winds played a trick on him as he made the inning-ending catch.
Pregame Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox will welcome the return of former manager Terry Francona, now manager of the Cleveland Indians. Francona held forth with the media before the game in the visiting dugout (has got to be a weird feeling for Tito, no?). He will send RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27), who will be looking for his first victory since May 2 in the opener of this four-game series against the Tribe.
As always, please feel free to post your comments here. And enjoy the game.
There wasn’t enough time for Terry Francona’s mind to wander. Not after sitting through two rain delays Wednesday night in Cleveland that stretched his Indians' 11-7 loss to the Tigers out over 3 hours and 33 minutes.
He then was headed to Boston for the first time as a manager since leaving the Red Sox in the aftermath of a woebegone 2011 season that is still painful in some ways.
He could have spent the flight daydreaming about how the fans would embrace him, what it would feel like to return to the place where for years he was soaked in success. But he didn’t.
“I fell asleep on the plane,” he said.
By the time the Indians arrived at their hotel, it was 4 a.m.
“I was so grumpy it didn't even matter,” said Francona, addressing the media Thursday before the Indians and Red Sox began a four-game series at Fenway Park.
Since leaving the Red Sox, Francona has worked as an ESPN analyst and written a book. But he also took the time to recharge and reevaluate, before ultimately accepting the job to manage the Indians, who are the surprise of the season’s early stage with an AL Central-leading 26-19 record.
Looking relaxed and rejuvenated as he met the media in the visitors dugout, Francona said he was enjoying his present situation too much to let his thoughts drift far into the past or the future.
“I don't spend any time thinking about that,” Francona said. “It's just not the way I'm built. These were really special years here and sometimes they're tough.
"But these are some of the best fans in the world and they care about their team more than ... it's unbelievable. If you like baseball, this is a good place to be, and I got to be a part of that. I feel very fortunate for that.”
Francona got to Fenway Park early in the afternoon, knowing how busy the day would be. So many things were the same.
“Whether you come into the ballpark and make a right or a left, the people are still the same,” he said.
He set up shop in the visitors clubhouse and quickly remembered how close the quarters are.
“It hit me in a hurry,” he said.
He was able to speak to Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who made sure to let Francona know how hot he has been at the plate.
“And when he's not hot, he still worries me,” Francona said.
Pedroia knew as well as anyone how Francona would approach the day.
"Knowing him, it's probably just another day," Pedroia said. "This place is very special to him, but I'm sure he just wants to go out there and manage the game."
Francona also touched base with close friend John Farrell, the first-year Sox manager, though they spared the trash-talking text messages.
“But the four days have just begun,” Farrell said. “I’m sure they’ll be floating back and forth at some point.”
Francona seemed immersed in his new job, leading a Cleveland team that has won 18 of 24 and has the best record in the majors since April 20. He acknowledged that the bitter ending in Boston -- despite mostly fond memories overall -- is still painful.
He also said that he loves being in the dugout and has benefited from a clean slate in Cleveland.
“When you're the manager of the Red Sox, it can take a toll on you,” Francona said. “I was here eight years. Like I've said, it's one of the greatest jobs in the world but also one of the hardest, and towards the end there, it was taking a toll on me.
"I think I caught myself maybe not being as patient as I would've liked to have been or maybe getting stubborn.
“So you take a year away and it allows you to kind of recharge, not just evaluate things but you can almost reevaluate yourself, too. Then you get a new, fresh start and you try to be the person where the positives are coming out.
“I like where I'm at, and maybe for where I'm at in my life and baseball, this is a really good place for me. I'm really comfortable with where I'm working and who I'm working with.
"It doesn't mean we're not going to have challenges, because we are. But I am enjoying the idea of tackling them with the people I'm with.”
The Red Sox have signed lefthander reliever Rafael Perez to a minor league deal, pending a physical, a team source has confirmed.
Perez, who was spotted at Fenway Park this afternoon, was non-tendered by the Indians in November after being limited to eight appearances in 2012 because of a shoulder injury.
He had surgery in September. He was signed by the Twins in February but wasn't back to what he used to be in his brief time with them.
For five seasons with the Indians, Perez was considered one of the best set-up men in baseball. He has a career 3.64 ERA, and three times he made 70-plus appearances in a season.
The Red Sox are expected to assign Perez to either Portland or Pawtucket after results of his physical are known.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said right fielder Shane Victorino continues to improve but was not available for the opener of the four-game home series against the Indians.
Victorino, who experienced tightness in his left hamstring and departed in the sixth inning of Monday night's 6-4 loss to the White Sox in Chicago, did sprints and other drills under the supervision of Dan Dyrek, the team's coordinator of sports medicine service, and Rick Jameyson, the head athletic trainer.
"As we continue to ramp up the physical work and the physical activity, the information that we get back and how he responds to that is certainly helpful as far as our decision-making going forward,'' Farrell said.
"He's still day-to-day. He's unavailable tonight. So, I think, we've used as a general rule of thumb, as we get to that halfway point of the potential of putting Shane on the [disabled list], we'll make a decision at that point, but we're no closer today to making a roster move.''
* Farrell also reported on the rehab stints of lefty Franklin Morales, who has been on the DL since March 31 with a low back strain, and catcher David Ross, who has missed 10 games since going on the seven-day concussion DL May 12. Both made appearances Thursday for Double A Portland in an 8-4 victory over Manchester.
Morales started and earned the win, going five innings and allowing one earned run.
"Franklin had five innings and 77 pitches and threw the ball well,'' Farrell said. "David Ross was 1 for 3 and was fine as far as any kind of activity on the field.''
Farrell said Ross returned to Boston to be examined.
"He'll probably get examined [Friday] when he comes in and that point we have the ability to make a roster decision,'' Farrell said.
As for Morales? "Well, with him pitching today, he's not available to pitch the next 4-5 days, minimum, so that'll be taken into account over the next couple of days in our discussions of what potential moves we might make.''
* Farrell confirmed that he had indeed given David Ortiz the steal sign Wednesday night, when the lumbering designated hitter stole third for the first time in his career.
"It was a 3-and-2 count, and you put runners in motion,'' Farrell said. "With his speed, he got it right and stole.''
Asked if that meant Ortiz (12 career steals) now has the green light to go at his discretion, Farrell chuckled and said, "I wouldn't go that far. It'd have to be a big green light.''
Asked if Ortiz's ability to stay on the field had met his expectations, Farrell said, "Once we got past those first 10 days of activity when he returned to us, the consistency of daily activity probably exceeded our initial thoughts.
"He's responded, physically, in a good way. It's not just because he's jogging to first and coming back to the dugout. He's run the bases quite a bit. So the overall durability has been a little bit better than I anticipated this year.''
* With former Red Sox manager Terry Francona in town with the Indians, Farrell was asked if he agreed with Francona's assertion that Boston was one of the toughest places to manage.
"Well, I've only had one other managing job to compare it to,'' Farrell said. "I think the individual expectations are higher than the external ones. We're just 47 games into this. After 162, I might have a different answer, but right now it's a great place to be.''
Good afternoon. Here are the lineups.
RED SOX (28-19)
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27)
Pitching: RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65)
Game time: 7:10 p.m.
Red Sox vs. McAllister: Pedroia 3-9, Saltalamacchia 2-8, Ellsbury 3-6, Gomes 0-6, Nava 3-5, Carp 1-4, Drew 0-3, Ciriaco 0-3, Lavarnway 0-3, Middlebrooks 0-3, Napoli 1-3, Ortiz 1-3, Victorino 1-3.
Indians vs. Dempster: Bourn 2-10, Stubbs 4-21, Reynolds 3-14, Swisher 3-8, Aviles 2-6, Brantley 1-5, Kipnis 0-5, Santana 2-5, Cabrera 0-3.
Stat of the Day: Dempster is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four career starts vs. the Indians.
Notes: The Red Sox swept the Indians in Cleveland April 16-18 ... The Indians have lost two straight after winning five in a row ... Carp's only hit vs. McAllister was a home run ... Brantley is 7 for 16 with nine RBIs in the Indians' last four games ... The Red Sox play four games against the Indians, then four vs. the Phillies (May 27-28 at Fenway Park, May 29-30 in Philadelphia).
David Ross caught five innings and was 1 for 3 with an RBI double for Double A Portland Thursday in an 8-4 victory against New Hampshire at Hadlock Field.
Ross doubled his first time up. He then struck out twice.
Ross was making an injury rehab appearance for the Sea Dogs. He has been on the concussion disabled list since May 12.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday that the plan was to have Ross play one rehab game before being activated.
Lefthander Franklin Morales went five innings for Portland. He allowed one unearned run on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He threw 77 pitches, 52 for strikes.
Morales has been on the disabled list all season, technically because of a back injury he suffered in spring training. He made a rehab start April 17 and strained a pectoral muscle. That led to his 30-day rehab assignment being stopped.
Morales started another minor league assignment May 8. He has made four starts in that assignment, working up to five innings. The Red Sox wanted to prepare Morales as a starter to improve their rotation depth.
At this point, the Red Sox could activate Morales and use him in the bullpen. Or they could continue to use him in the minors for up to another 16 days.
Thursday: RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network
Friday: RHP Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83) vs. RHP John Lackey (2-4, 3.31), 7:10 p.m., NESN.
Saturday: LHP Scott Kazmir (2-2, 6.35) vs. LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.15), 1:35 p.m., NESN.
Sunday: RHP Corey Kluber (3-3, 5.19) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (3-2, 5.61), 1:35 p.m., NESN.
Clay Buchholz was in the groove as the Red Sox finished their road trip with a 6-2 victory against the White Sox.
Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox should do everything they can to retain Jacoby Ellsbury.
The notebook has Terry Francona returning to Fenway Park in a different uniform.
CHICAGO — It has become a tradition in baseball that the starting pitcher gets to choose the music playing in the clubhouse before the game on the day he pitches.
Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz puts some thought into what is usually an eclectic playlist. His selections on Wednesday included some of Journey’s greatest hits, a few top 40 hip-hop tunes and even a selection from the soundtrack of the old Broadway hit “Grease.”
Buchholz brought the same variety to the mound. He threw six different pitches against the Chicago White Sox over seven innings, getting weak swings on all of them over the course of the game. The result was a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The White Sox scored one run on five hits against Buchholz. He walked three and struck out four to improve to 7-0. Buchholz has been more overpowering in some starts this season but he never let the White Sox string hits together.
Buchholz threw a four-seam fastball, a sinking two-seam fastball, a cutter, a split-finger fastball, a changeup and a curveball
“The biggest thing is that no one can really sit on any one pitch in a given count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “That’s what really defines who Clay is.”
The Red Sox are 9-1 when Buchholz has started this season. He has gone at least seven innings nine times.
“When any starter is throwing the ball well and getting deep into games, good things are going to happen,” Buchholz said. “You’re going to take your lumps and bumps in the road. But it’s been fun. Hopefully just keep on striding.”
David Ortiz was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base for the Red Sox, who were 6-3 on their road trip. They were two games behind the Yankees when the trip started and they return home a half-game out.
• Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 3 with two walks and a run scored. He got on base six times in the final two games of the series and may be working out of what has been a long slump. His on-base percentage climbed from .303 to .318.
Ellsbury rarely speaks to reporters and initially passed on answering questions before a team official interceded.
"It's nice to get on base and score a run," Ellsbury said. 'It feels good. Same approach that I've had, same game plan. Everything is pretty much the same. It's just nice to get on base and create havoc."
Despite his poor statistics, among the worst for leadoff hitters in all of baseball, Ellsbury didn't acknowledge that he was slumping.
“I feel like I’ve been having good at-bats,’’ Ellsbury said. “Fortunately tonight, I found some grass in the outfield. I’ve had quite a few swings that have been the same. ... I just have to stick with the plan, have a good approach, have a good plan and it’s a matter of sticking to the plan.’’
Ellsbury also made a nice running catch in the fifth inning to take a hit away from Alexei Ramirez.
• Ortiz stole third without a throw in the first inning. It was no fluke, either. The Sox called for the steal. It was the first stolen base for Ortiz since June 21, 2011 and the first time in his 17-year career he stole third.
“I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Ortiz said about getting the steal sign. “But it happened. I don’t have a zero in that category any more.”
Ortiz was asked why he waited 17 years to steal third.
"Talk to the coaches," he said.
Maybe Ortiz will get the green light on the bases now.
"Let's not go that crazy," he said.
Joking aside, the fact that Ortiz is physically able to run hard 90 feet and steal a base is clearly a sign that his Achilles tendon injury is either fully healed or close to it.
"I've been running well lately. I've been feeling better," he said. "You guys know me, if I feel good I'm going to run. Not stealing bases, but taking advantage of whatever is happening."
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw out two runners stealing. Opponents had been 19 of 20 against him.