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.
End of the seventh, Indians 4, Red Sox 3: What was supposed to be a 1-and-2 curveball by on Lester to Mark Reynolds, who was up with two men on, ended up bouncing well in front of the plate, allowing Mike Aviles to cross the late and put the Indians back up.
The fact that Lester struck out Reynolds with a fastball three pitches later only added to the frustration of ending a relatively solid seven-inning start (four runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts and one walk) on a sour note.
End of the sixth, Indians 3, Red Sox 3: When the Sox posted their lineup, Jose Iglesias probably didn’t seem like the most likely candidate to carry the offense, but he’s now 3 for 3 with two runs scored after getting on with a one-out single and scoring the tying run on a Jonny Gomes sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, Jon Lester’s cruising, having struck out the side. He had his streak of nine straight starts with at least five strikeouts snapped in his last outing. So he’s started a new one, fanning seven so far today.
End of the fifth, Indians 3, Red Sox 2: The look on Dustin Pedroia’s face as he walked off the field after being caught up in a 2-6 force out on a tall and tricky David Ortiz popup showed just how frustrating the day’s been for the Sox.
They’ve left seven men on through the first five innings, going 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
End of the fourth, Indians 3, Red Sox 2: Jose Iglesias keeps finding the right spots.
He shot a ground ball to that tricky spot where the stands meet with the right field line and outifleder Ryan Raburn had a hard time coming up with it.
While Raburn bobbled it, Daniel Nava, who worked a leadoff walk to get on, came around to score.
End of the third, Indians 3, Red Sox 1: Walking Drew Stubbs to start to lead things off was as big a sign as any that Lester was going to have to work through some control issues.
He walked Stubbs on five pitches. For perspective, even after getting into an advantage count like 3-and-1, which he’s done 182, Stubbs strikes out almost 20 percent of the time.
Needless to say, Lester paid for it when Asdrubal Cabrera ripped a double to left.
He was picked up in the field by Jonny Gomes, who after scooping up a Nick Swisher single cut Cabrera down at the plate (David Ross, back in the lineup after coming off the concussion disabled list, did a nice job of blocking the plate to at least make a close call difficult for home plate umpire Ron Kulpa).
But after getting ahead of Mark Reynolds 0-and-2, Lester hit him with a curveball, which led to a conference at the mound.
Once that was done, Lester fell behind Carlos Santana and gave up 2-and-1 single that scored Swisher.
End of the second, Indians 1, Red Sox 1: Pretty safe to say no one in the Sox lineup has done more damage with infield singles than Jose Iglesias. He had three on opening day.
He dribbled another one down the third-base line with two outs to keep the inning alive. A balk by Scott Kazmir moved him into scoring position, and he scored on Pedro Ciriaco’s liner to right.
The production from the eighth and ninth hitters allowed the Sox to tie it up.
The Sox have gotten mixed results at the bottom of the order this season. Stephen Drew has played more games than anyone in the eight hole (20) but he’s hit just .169. David Ross (.333 with two home runs in six games) has had the most success there. In ninth spot has been as productive as any team in the American League. The Sox came into the game fourth in the AL in RBIs out of the nine hole with 19, and Ciriaco tacked on another.
End of the first, Indians 1, Red Sox 0: Nick Swisher came through with a two-out double that allowed Asdrubal Cabrera to score from first.
It didn’t necessarily show last night when they went 0 for 7 and left five runners on, but the Indians tend to cash in with men on (197 RBIs), with runners in scoring position (173) and with two outs (97).
Pregame: The last time Jon Lester was on the hill, it was against a Chicago White Sox team that’s had his number. They were “one of those teams,” Lester said after giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and taking his fifth career loss to the White Sox.
This time, he’s facing a team he’s dominated over the years. He’s faced the Cleveland Indians 12 times in his career, going 6-1 with a 3.27 ERA (3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his last four). The numbers get better at Fenway Park where he’s 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA in four starts. He’s handcuffed a tough Tribe lineup once already this season, giving up two runs over seven innings back in April. On a wet day at the Fens, he’ll try to do it again.
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