In a drizzle-filled afternoon that had the pace of a good book followed by a long nap, the Boston Red Sox rallied late to celebrate “Connecticut Day” at Fenway with a 7-4 win over the visiting Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox trailed the entire game, but finally chased home men on base with bottom of the order heroics and clutch pinch-hitting. John Lester was shopping for his 7th win of the season, but would come away empty-handed despite the Boston victory.
The Indians jumped on Lester in the top of the first, scoring the game’s first run on an RBI double by Nick Swisher, plating Asdrubal Cabrera who singled to right just out of the reach of Dustin Pedroia.
Boston knotted the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second when Pedro Ciriaco delivered an RBI single to right field after Jose Iglesias reached on an infield single.
Cleveland grabbed the lead right back in the third as Lester began struggling with his control. Drew Stubbs drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on fielder’s choice by Mike Aviles. Cabrera rifled a double off the Green Monster to score Stubbs but was erased on a nice throw by Jonny Gomes in left and good block and tag by Ross. Cleveland added a third run when singled in Nick Swisher who also reached on a hit off Lester in the Indian’s lengthy third inning. Lester avoided further damage with runners at 2nd and 3rd by closing out the inning by striking out Yan Gomes, leaving the Indians with a 3-1 advantage.
The bottom half of Boston’s order helped the Red Sox close the gap to 3-2 in the home half of the fourth. Nava worked a leadoff walk from Kazmir and came home to score in part on Iglesias’s double to right and a bobble by Indian’s right fielder Ryan Rayburn. But Ciriacco was stranded when Ellsbury grounded out to the pitcher the close the fourth frame, marking the Red Sox fifth stranded base runner through four innings. Boston would go on to strand 9 baserunners through six innings before cashing in in the bottom of the 8th.
Boston let Kazmir wiggle off the hook again in the fifth when Daniel Nava grounded out to the Cleveland pitcher with Ortiz and Napoli standing on 2nd and 1st as the Red Sox failed to capitalize again with runners on base.
Lester looked sharper as the game went on, earning his first 1-2-3 effort against the Indians by striking out the side in the top of the 6th, getting Gomes, Brantley and Raburn all on swinging third strikes, pushing Lester’s pitch count to 104 on the day.
Boston managed to tied the game at 3-3 in the 6th when Iglesias singled for his third hit of the day and eventually scored on a sac flu by Gomes—but the Sox failed to grab a lead by stranding two more base runners in the frame.
Lester gave the lead right back to the Tribe in the top of the 7th, surrendering singles to Aviles and Cabrera before giving up the go-ahead run to the Indians on a wild pitch that scored Aviles from third.
Junichi Tazawa was impressive in the 8th with a pair of strike outs to set up the Red Sox rally in the bottom of the 8th.
Pedro Ciriaco collected his third hit of the day with a wall-ball double off The Monster and scored to tie the game on pinch-hitter Mike Carp’s double to tie the game at 4-4. Dustin Pedroia then doubled off the wall to score Carp
and give the Bosox their first lead of the afternoon at 5-4. The Indians intentionally walked Ortiz to get to Mike Napoli, but Napoli worked a walk to load the bases. Daniel Nava hit a towering shallow fly to left and it inexplicably fell between Cabrera and the left fielder, giving Nava a gift single and two rbi to push the Boston lead to 7-4. With the bases loaded, Ross, who struggled at the plate follow his first post-concussion start, struck out for the fifth time on the afternoon.
Lester got a no-decision, finishing with a line of 7 IP 10 H 4R 1BB 8K on a season high 124 pitches. Tazawa picked up the victory with Andrew Bailey closing out the 9th for his first save since returning from the DL and 6th save overall.
The bottom of Boston’s order was especially productive, with 6 hits between the number 8 and 9 batters, Iglesias and Ciriaco.
NOTE: The Red Sox optioned catcher Ryan Lavarnway back to Triple A to make room for David Ross. Stephen Drew got a scheduled day off at shortstop with the lefty Kazmir starting for the Indians. Felix Doubront (3-2) gets the Sunday start for Boston to close out the four game set against the Indians.
- Red Sox-Indians Live: David Ross Back Behind the Plate As Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir Prepare to Battle at Fenway (nesn.com)
- Red Sox rally for 4 in 8th to beat Indians 7-4 (timesleader.com)