Final, Indians 11-0: It was hard to see this one coming. Clay Buchholz was not bad at all, but he was outpitched by Justin Masterson and any chance for a late comeback was destroyed when the ultra-thin Red Sox bullpen fell apart.
Masterson allowed just two singles and walked two, but not one runner ever reached second base against the former Red Sox righty. It is his first career complete game shutout and it comes against the team that traded him away less than a year ago.
Cleveland will go for a split against Jon Lester in Thursday's finale. Mitch Talbot goes for the Indians.
End 8th, Indians 11-0: Walk. Single. Walk. Single. Single. Grand Slam. Single. Double. Walk. Those are the results for the first nine Indians hitters of the eighth, which will give Boof Bonser an ERA of infinity, and Joe Nelson one that is not much lower.
There were also two other walks, a single and a stolen base in the frame, which saw 14 men come to the plate.
The game is over. The only remaining question is whether Justin Masterson will get a chance to throw a complete game after sitting on the bench for what seemed like a week. There was nobody warming in the Indians bullpen, so it seems as if Manny Acta will give him the chance.
9:26 p.m.: Cleveland leads 9-0. This one has fallen apart in a hurry. A Travis Hafner grand slam off Joe Nelson opens it up and there are still no outs in the eighth.
9:21 p.m.: The Sox were still within shouting distance entering the bottom of the eighth, but the chance of a ninth-inning rally was (BOOF!) gone in an instant. At the very least it is looking much less likely. Boof Bonser fails to get an out, gives up one run and leaves with the bases loaded.
Mid 8th, Indians 3-0: With all due respect for what Matt Garza and Francisco Liriano did to the Red Sox in a pair of starts back in April, this outing by Justin Masterson may be the best an opposing pitcher has had against the Sox all year.
After freezing Jeremy Hermida to end the top of the eighth, Masterson had struck out six. He has allowed just two hits and two walks, and has induced 16 groundball outs.
Boof Bonser is on for his Red Sox debut.
End 7th, Indians 3-0: The long-awaited Boof Bonser debut may be forthcoming. The former Minnesota Twins hurler has been warming in the Boston bullpen. With the way Clay Buchholz has settled in, however, Bonser may have to wait.
Buchholz has still only allowed three hits and has set down nine in a row.
Mid 7th, Indians 3-0: This is some performance by Justin Masterson, who has allowed just four baserunners and none have reached as far as second base. He has plenty left in the tank and will be given every opportunity to go the distance, what with the pathetic Cleveland bullpen backing him up.
Indians relievers have an American League-worst 5.24 ERA.
End 6th, Indians 3-0: Clay Buchholz has thrown 99 pitches through six, and may have to give the Sox two more innings if he can get through the seventh OK. The bullpen remains thin.
This has been an odd series in some ways. Of the 13 runs that have been scored by the two teams, only six have come in on actual hits. The other seven have been scored by three sacrifice flies, an RBI grounder, a wild pitch, an error and a double play grounder with a runner on third and no outs.
Mid 6th, Indians 3-0: When his stuff is working, diving in the zone, Justin Masterson is always a pitch away from getting out of a jam with a double play. He picks up his second of the game when Marco Scutaro hits into a 5-4-3 twin killing to end the top of the sixth.
The Sox have now scored 10 runs in their last 35 innings. Baseball's top offense has hit a bit of a dry spell, in Cleveland no loss.
End 5th, Indians 3-0: It seems odd to look up and see Clay Buchholz with four walks against zero strikeouts. But he has had at least four walks in a game five times this year and has recorded more free passes than strikeouts on four different occasions before Wednesday.
Mid 5th, Indians 3-0: Justin Masterson ended his 2009 campaign with his one and only complete game. At this rate he'll have No. 2.
A double play off the bat of Adrian Beltre ends the top of the fifth. Masterson, who has recorded 11-of-12 outs via groundballs, has thrown only 53 pitches.
Man, it'd be wicked awesome if that guy pitched for the Sox someday.
End 4th, Indians 3-0: Clay Buchholz had thrown two wild pitches all year entering the bottom of the fourth inning. He throws two in the frame alone, allowing an infield single to turn into the Indians' third run of the game.
Jhonny Peralta singled to third base to start the inning and moved to second on the first wild pitch. A grounder pushed Peralta up 90 feet and, after a squeeze bunt attempt went foul, he came in when a breaking ball by Buchholz bounced away from Victor Martinez.
Buchholz has minimized some damage early, but he is not nearly as sharp as he has been of late.
Mid 4th, Indians 2-0: Maybe that win the last time out was what Justin Masterson needed to get going. He strikes out Kevin Youkilis to end the fourth and is cruising through the suddenly dormant Red Sox offense.
Boston has 10 runs in its last 33 innings since that six-run outburst in the ninth inning in Baltimore the other night.
End 3rd, Indians 2-0: If you are an Indians fan, and I'm sure there are thousands reading this right now, you have to feel good for Trevor Crowe. The goat in Tuesday's loss for Cleveland has two hits and two runs in a bit of redemption.
Crowe, who dropped a routine fly ball that led to the Red Sox' only three runs Tuesday, led off the third with a triple past the diving Josh Reddick and scored on a double-play grounder one batter later.
Mid 3rd, Indians 1-0: This is the Justin Masterson we saw often in a Red Sox uniform, working quick and getting outs. He has tossed only 35 pitches in three innings.
End 2nd, Indians 1-0: Better results for Clay Buchholz in the second. That can happen when you face the murderers's row of Luis Valbuena, Anderson Hernandez and Lou Marson.
Buchholz needed just seven pitches to set down the bottom third of the less-than-imposing Indians lineup.
Mid 2nd, Indians 1-0: The Red Sox have gotten the best out of the Victor Martinez-Justin Masterson trade, by a pretty good margin so far. Martinez serves up a reminder of that by slapping a single off Masterson to left with one out in the second.
Martinez, who is 3-for-5 off Masterson, is erased on a J.D. Drew grounder and Adrian Beltre makes the last out.
End 1st, Indians 1-0: Justin Masterson needed only 10 pitches to retire the side in the top of the first inning. Clay Buchholz needed 30 in the bottom half, and has to feel pretty good about allowing just one run.
Buchholz gave up a single and a walk to start things off, and then walked another to load the bases with one out. Jhonny Peralta's sacrifice fly brought in the lone run.
Buchholz, as is the case with many pitchers, is most effective when down in the zone. Aside from a hanging changeup that leadoff man Trevor Crowe slapped into right for a single, he was down, but often too far down and was behind all inning long.
In addition to the two walks, Buchholz had three-ball counts on two other hitters.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Marco Scutaro is now hitless in seven at bats, Dustin Pedroia is hitless in his last 11 and David Ortiz is 1-for-21 over a seven-game span after the trio goes in order in the first.
7:00 p.m.: With minutes to go before the first pitch, here are the nightly numbers. No, not the lottery, just a few stats to keep in mind going forward.
6:40 p.m.: Justin Masterson was a very well liked individual in the Red Sox clubhouse and quite effective in the uniform. His time in Cleveland has not been nearly as successful.
One issue for Masterson this year has been his inability to get out lefties, who are hitting .370 against him.
Although they only had good things to say about Masterson, Red Sox officials may have seen some of those issues coming. At Double-A Portland in 2007, Masterson held right-handed bats to a .168 average, but was beat up by lefties, who hit .320.
While he had great success in his time at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2008, lefties did hit 92 points higher than righties.
In duty split between Boston and Cleveland last year, left-handed bats hit .323, while righties batted .203.
6:25 p.m.:The Sox and Indians have been playing in front of sparse crowds numbering around 15,000 the past two nights, but there is a big ticket affair on the horizon for Progressive Field, which will soon be gripped by Strasburg Mania.
For those of you interested in catching the Washington Nationals phenom in a closer AL park that has been a second home to Red Sox fans over the years, he is lined up to pitch in Baltimore the weekend after next.
Might be worth a quick trip on Southwest.
6:00 p.m.: A night after Tim Wakefield passed Roger Clemens for the franchise's all-time lead in innings pitched, Clay Buchholz has a chance to surpass a pair of Clemens' streaks from back in the day.
Buchholz has won nine straight road starts, tied with a Clemens streak from 1986 and another from 1993. If Buchholz does get his 10th straight victory away from home, it would be the second-longest run in team history, behind (you guessed it) Roger Clemens, who won 12 straight on the road from late-1987 to July 4, 1988.
5:43 p.m.: You've got to love Terry Francona's words when asked about facing Justin Masterson on Wednesday night: "I told him, 'I hope we beat your brains out and then after that I hope you never lose again.'"
Among the other things to look for in Cleveland, aside from brains being beaten in, is word on Jacoby Ellsbury's checkup in California. We had yet to hear the results as of an hour ago.
Elsewhere on the injury/ailment/bereavement front, Francona recently told reporters that Jonathan Papelbon will be back with the team Friday at the earliest. That's when the Sox begin nine straight at home and 15 in a row against NL teams.
Manny Delcarmen reportedly threw a side session and may be ready to return Thursday. Daisuke Matsuzaka was supposed to throw one as well, but apparently became ill and was sent back to the hotel. He will throw his side Thursday, provided he is feeling better.
Back in a bit with more updates, stats, sarcasm, etc.
4:40 p.m.: As promised, Red Sox manager Terry Francona has stacked his lineup with left-handed bats against old pal Justin Masterson. Here are the lineups for both teams:
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Josh Reddick, CF
Trevor Crowe, CF
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Austin Kearns, LF
Russell Branyan, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, 3B
Travis Hafner, DH
Luis Valbuena, 2B
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Lou Marson, C
Back in a bit with all your pregame updates.
7:47 a.m.: The Red Sox and Clay Buchholz will meet up with old friend Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
Masterson and Buchholz were teammates on multiple teams in the minors and with the big club in parts of 2008 and 2009 before Masterson was shipped to Cleveland in the Victor Martinez deal.
Buchholz enters on a bit of a better note than his old mate, having won five straight starts while posting a remarkable 0.99 ERA. Masterson, however, has struggled for the Indians, picking up his first win five days ago despite walking six.
The Sox have won the first two games of the set and eight of their last 10 games overall.
First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
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