Final, Red Sox 7-4: Andrew Bailey closed the door on a gutsy win in the ninth.
The Red Sox entered the eighth inning trailing 4-3, and they exited the frame on top 7-4. Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp and Dustin Pedroia each doubled as part of Boston’s four-run rally, and the Sox have now taken two in a row against Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians.
Jon Lester was off his game on Saturday. The lefty surrendered four runs on 10 hits, while walking one and striking out eight. The Red Sox’ offense picked him up, though, and Boston will head into Sunday’s series finale guaranteed at least a split.
Ciriaco and Jose Iglesias each had three hits at the bottom of Boston’s order on Saturday, and some suspect defense made life a little bit easier for the Red Sox, who showed a ton of fight in the victory. Junichi Tazawa earned the win after tossing a perfect eighth inning.
The Red Sox and Indians will be back in action on Sunday, and Felix Doubront will take the hill. Sunday’s game is scheduled to start up at 1:35 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Red Sox 7-4: The Red Sox played Wall Ball in the eighth inning, and they’ll now carry a three-run lead into the ninth inning.
Pedro Ciriaco started the trend of beating up on the Green Monster in left by dropping a one-out double off the base of the wall. Jacoby Ellsbury then struck out, which threatened to end the Red Sox’ rally, but some two-out magic resulted in four runs coming across.
Mike Carp, who hit a three-run home run in Friday’s victory, pinch-hit for Jonny Gomes with right-hander Vinnie Pestano on the hill, and he nearly went deep for the second straight game. Carp’s fly ball to left field struck high off the Monster, bringing home Ciriaco with the tying run.
If that was all the Red Sox got in the inning, they would have taken it. But Dustin Pedroia and Co. had bigger plans.
Pedroia fell behind 0-2, but Pestano couldn’t put him away. Pedroia joined his teammates in peppering the left-field wall. He brought home Carp with an RBI double to give the Red Sox their first lead of the game.
Things still got even worse for Cleveland after that.
Mike Napoli walked to load the bases for Daniel Nava, who hit a popup into shallow left field. It looked as if that would allow the Indians to escape the inning trailing by just one run, but the ball got caught in the wind, and left fielder Michael Brantley and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera both watch as it dropped in. Two more runs scored, and closer Andrew Bailey will take over with a 7-4 lead.
Mid 8th, Indians 4-3: Junichi Tazawa held down the Indians in the eighth inning, meaning the Red Sox’ offense will go to work in a one-run game.
Tazawa struck out both Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes, and then quickly got ahead of Michael Brantley 0-2. Brantley laid of Tazawa’s 0-2 pitch and made contact on his 1-2 offering, but it ended with a lazy ground ball to Mike Napoli at first base.
Jose Iglesias, Pedro Ciriaco and Jacoby Ellsbury are due up for Boston in the home half of the eighth.
End 7th, Indians 4-3: Joe Smith took over on the mound for Cleveland, and he moved the Tribe one step closer to victory.
Daniel Nava walked with two outs, but nothing came of it. David Ross ended the inning by striking out for the fourth time.
Clearly, Ross, playing in his first game since May 11, is shaking off some rust at the plate. He’s made a couple of nice plays defensively, but he also took a ball off the mask, which is something the Red Sox really don’t want to see following a stint on the concussion disabled list. It’s been a rough day all around for the Boston backstop.
Junichi Tazawa will pitch the eighth inning for Boston, meaning the book is officially closed on Jon Lester.
Lester allowed four earned runs on 10 hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight while tossing 124 pitches (81 strikes).
Mid 7th, Indians 4-3: It didn’t take long for the Indians to jump back ahead.
Mike Aviles and Asdrubal Cabrera struck back-to-back singles with one out to get the ball rolling against Jon Lester, who was an inning removed from his first 1-2-3 frame of the game. Cabrera’s single traveled just past a diving Mike Napoli and down the right-field line, enabling Aviles to go from first to third.
Lester got to within one strike of escaping the jam. He retired Nick Swisher on a lineout to third base and got to two strikes against Mark Reynolds. But Lester threw pitch in the dirt that kicked up off David Ross’ mask and rolled toward the Red Sox’ on-deck circle. The wild pitch allowed Aviles to scamper home with the go-ahead run.
Lester has thrown 124 pitches, so his day is certainly done. He’s on the hook for a loss if the Red Sox’ offense can’t rally again. Fortunately for Boston, there’s still plenty of baseball.
End 6th, 3-3: The Red Sox’ offense finally manufactured its third run, although the Indians provided a little help.
Jose Iglesias kicked off the sixth-inning rally with a one-out single into right field. Ryan Raburn made a diving attempt, but the ball popped out of his glove, and Iglesias now has three hits.
Pedro Ciriaco then dropped a bunt down the third-base line, which proved to be problematic for the Cleveland defense. Mark Reynolds made the play, but his throw to first base sailed wide, allowing Iglesias and Ciriaco to advance to third and second, respectively, with one out.
The Indians opted to intentionally walk Jacoby Ellsbury with Jonny Gomes coming up, and Gomes did exactly what he needed to do. He lifted a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to score the runner from third base.
Dustin Pedroia, batting with runners at the corners, threatened to give the Red Sox their first lead of the game by hitting a line drive to deep right field. Ryan Raburn took a strange route to the ball, but he eventually tracked it down on the run to end the inning and keep the game tied.
Mid 6th, Indians 3-2: Perhaps the Red Sox’ offense can generate some momentum. Jon Lester enjoyed his first 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.
Not only did Lester retire the side in order. He struck out all three hitters he faced.
Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley and Ryan Raburn all went down by way of the K, with Gomes and Brantley both going down looking.
That’s a huge inning for Lester, who has been forced to labor through his outing. The Red Sox’ bats will now come up against a new pitcher in Bryan Shaw on the heels of a positive inning from their starter.
End 5th, Indians 3-2: That tying run is elusive.
Dustin Pedroia walked with one out after Jonny Gomes struck out swinging on three pitches to begin the inning.
The next play was rather strange. David Ortiz hit a popup in the middle of the infield. Scott Kazmir went after it and Yan Gomes came out from behind the plate, but neither made the catch. Instead, the ball dropped in-between the mound and home plate. The Indians still recorded an out, though, as Pedroia was forced to hold at first base with the ball in the air. Gomes scooped the ball and fired it to second base to pick up the forceout.
Mike Napoli then singled with two outs in the fifth inning to increase the threat, but the Red Sox couldn’t push across their third run. Daniel Nava grounded back to the mound to end the rally.
Mid 5th, Indians 3-2: Jon Lester has yet to enjoy a 1-2-3 inning.
He kept the Indians off the scoreboard in the fifth inning, but Mark Reynolds reached via a single to left field with two outs.
Prior to Reynolds’ base knock, Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher both flied out to Daniel Nava. Carlos Santana ended the inning by striking out swinging on sinker down.
Lester has thrown 89 pitches (58 strikes) through five innings. He has given up eight hits in what has been a struggle throughout.
End 4th, Indians 3-2: The Red Sox added a run in the fourth inning, but they’re very fortunate to have done so.
Daniel Nava walked to lead things off, and Jose Iglesias smacked a ball down the right-field line after David Ross struck out for the second time. Some sloppy play then resulted in the run.
First, right fielder Ryan Raburn couldn’t field Iglesias’ hit cleanly, which allowed Nava to try and score. Raburn came up firing to the plate, but Nick Swisher tried to cut the throw off. If he didn’t try to cut it off and instead let the ball go through, Raburn’s throw probably would have nailed Nava at the plate.
The Red Sox had a chance to tie the game with Iglesias on second, but Pedro Ciriaco flied out to center and Jacoby Ellsbury was retired on a ball hit sharply back to the mound. Scott Kazmir made a nice play to knock down Ellsbury’s comebacker before recording the out at first.
Mid 4th, Indians 3-1: The fourth inning had the makings of another shaky one for Jon Lester, but the left-hander settled down nicely.
Michael Brantley led off the inning by turning on a get-me-over pitch. He drilled it over Daniel Nava’s head in right field, and he raced into second base with a leadoff double.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, their deficit didn’t grow because Lester bounced back to retire the next three hitters. Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles grounded out, and Drew Stubbs popped out.
End 3rd, Indians 3-1: Dustin Pedroia capped off a good battle against Scott Kazmir with a double, but Kazmir retired the next two hitters to keep Cleveland’s two-run lead intact.
Pedroia fell behind 0-2, but he battled back and worked the count full. Pedroia struck out on back-to-back changeups in the first inning, but when Kazmir tried to toss him a similar combo this time around, Pedey laid off the first and fouled off the second. Pedroia ended the at-bat by inside-outing a fastball into the right-field corner for a double.
Kazmir then struck out David Ortiz and got Mike Napoli to fly out to center field to end the inning. Ortiz was ahead in the count 2-0 before a borderline call on the third pitch paved the way for the K.
Mid 3rd, Indians 3-1: Jon Lester hasn’t exactly been Jon Lester-like early on in this game.
Lester walked Drew Stubbs to begin the third inning, and Stubbs came around to score when Asdrubal Cabrera doubled off the Green Monster.
The play at second base was close, but Cabrera dove and got his hand in safely, mainly because of the high bounce the ball took off the wall. The ball struck right on top of the left-field scoreboard and bounced straight into the air. So even though Jonny Gomes delivered a strong throw to second base, he simply couldn’t get it there fast enough to make up for the strange bounce.
Gomes eventually finished off the job, though. Nick Swisher singled into left field and Cabrera tried to score from second, but Gomes fired a good throw to the plate in order to cut down the runner. Catcher David Ross deserves a lot of credit as well. He stood upright until right before the ball arrived, seemingly in an effort to deke Cabrera. When the ball got there, Ross handled it cleanly, dropped down, blocked the plate and applied the tag.
The Indians still pushed across their second run, though. After Mark Reynolds was “hit” by a pitch — replays show it landed in front of his foot — Carlos Santana singled into center field to make the game 3-1.
End 2nd, 1-1: The Red Sox’ first bit of offense came from an unlikely source: the duo of Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco. (With the help of a balk.)
Scott Kazmir started the inning by striking out Daniel Nava and David Ross. Nava went down on three pitches after foul tipping a fastball into the mitt, and Ross went down looking at a fastball on the outside corner.
Iglesias then did something he became known for while with the Red Sox earlier this season. He hit a little dribbler down the third-base line that looked very much like a swinging bunt, and he reached via an infield single.
Iglesias took second base on a balk from Kazmir, and that proved to be crucial. Pedro Ciriaco smacked a two-out, two-strike fastball into right-center field to score Iglesias with Boston’s first run.
Mid 2nd, Indians 1-0: It’s David Ross’ first game back from a concussion, and he already almost had a run-in with the wall.
Jon Lester got two quick outs for the second straight inning. But for the second straight inning, the Indians put a runner on with two down.
Lester struck out Carlos Santana swinging and got Yan Gomes to ground out to Pedro Ciriaco at third. Ciriaco’s defense has been shaky at times this season, so it’s good to see his afternoon get off to a positive start.
Michael Brantley didn’t want to go easily, though. He singled through the 5-6 hole and into left field. It didn’t lead to any damage, however, because Ryan Raburn popped out behind the plate.
Ross raced toward the Red Sox’ on-deck circle while chasing Raburn’s popup. He nearly ran out of real estate, but he made the grab just before the seats, even bumping up against the wall after making the play.
Ross, who was activated off the seven-day concussion disabled list on Friday, is appearing in his first game since May 11.
End 1st, Indians 1-0: Scott Kazmir walked two, but neither of the free passes turned into a run.
Jacoby Ellsbury — who John Farrell said on Friday is still trying to find a rhythm at the plate — led off with a walk. Walks are always dangerous, but they’re especially dangerous when you put on someone with Ellsbury’s speed.
Kazmir settled down and got Jonny Gomes to pop out, and the lefty then struck out Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia looked a bit fooled by a 2-2 changeup, which was the second of two straight offspeed offerings.
David Ortiz worked a two-out walk to put two runners on for Mike Napoli, but Napoli flied out to center. It looked initially like Napoli’s fly ball to center might cause some trouble, but Drew Stubbs came in, called for it and took care of the inning’s final out.
Mid 1st, Indians 1-0: Jon Lester got two quick outs in the first inning, but a two-out single paved the way for an RBI double to kick off the scoring.
Lester struck out Drew Stubbs, who is leading off with Michael Bourn out of the lineup, to begin the game. The left-hander then got former teammate Mike Aviles to ground out lazily to second base.
Asdrubal Cabrera kept the frame going by lining a base hit into right field. Cabrera quickly swiped second base without a throw, as David Ross was unable to transfer the ball from his mitt to his throwing hand successfully (perhaps because of the sloppy conditions). That proved to be big.
Nick Swisher turned on a 2-0 fastball and drove a double into the left-field corner to score Cabrera with the game’s first run.
1:40 p.m.: Jon Lester’s first pitch sails through the rain drops and into David Ross’ mitt for a strike. We’re underway at Fenway Park.
1:30 p.m.: The tarp has been removed, and while mist continues to fall, we’re almost ready for baseball. It looks like we’ll start up on time.
12:40 p.m.: There’s still some mist falling at Fenway, but the conditions — right now, at least — look a lot better than Friday’s conditions. Even after the action started up on Friday, the rain came down at a decent clip for much of the game.
11:28 a.m.: Jose Iglesias is already showing off his versatility. Iglesias received the start at third base on Friday, and he’ll now shift over to his natural shortstop position, with Stephen Drew getting a scheduled day off. Iglesias will bat eighth, while Pedro Ciriaco will man the hot corner and bat ninth.
David Ross, who was activated off the seven-day concussion list before Friday’s game, will also be in Saturday’s starting lineup. He’ll take his spot behind the dish, and he’ll bat seventh.
The rest of Saturday’s lineups are below.
Red Sox (29-20)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
David Ross, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jon Lester, LHP (6-1, 3.15 ERA)
Drew Stubbs, CF
Mike Aviles, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Nick Swisher, 1B
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Carlos Santana, DH
Yan Gomes, C
Michael Brantley, LF
Ryan Raburn, RF
Scott Kazmir, LHP (2-2, 6.35 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: John Lackey and the Red Sox were unfazed by Friday’s rain delay. When the action started, they proved that they were up to the challenge of bouncing back from Thursday night’s blowout loss.
Lackey tossed seven fantastic innings, and all the Indians’ offense could muster up was one unearned run. That was hardly enough to overcome an eight-run Red Sox attack that was fueled by a three-run homer by Mike Carp. When all was said and done, the Sox emerged victorious on what was a very soggy night at Fenway Park.
Saturday figures to be another wet one. There’s rain in the forecast, but hopefully, things will stay dry enough to play some baseball. If and when that’s the case, Jon Lester will go up against Scott Kazmir in a battle of two lefties.
Saturday’s action is scheduled to start up at 1:35 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com. Oh yeah, and stay dry.