Final, Red Sox 4-2: That’s pretty much how you draw it up.
Josh Beckett goes 6 2/3 strong, Rich Hill gets four big outs and Jonathan Papelbon has plenty of breathing room in the ninth, which makes Travis Buck’s solo homer nothing more than a footnote.
It is the fourth straight win for Beckett (over the course of nine starts) and Boston’s first victory in five tries at Progressive Field this year.
It’s a quick turnaround for these teams, who will meet again in the series finale at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday. We will be up early to bring you the lineups and all the pregame news right here. Thanks for following along tonight.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox waste the chance to add on as Carl Crawford taps into a force at home and Drew Sutton
Terry Francona must be rather committed to give Dustin Pedroia the full night off. Otherwise, he would’ve hit for Sutton there.
Anyway, on comes Jonathan Papelbon in search os his ninth save.
9:52 p.m.: The Red Sox have the bases loaded and one out in the top of the ninth. They are threatening to blow it open, in which case we will see Matt Albers instead of Jonathan Papelbon.
9:43 p.m.: Fausto Carmona was given a chance to pick up a complete game, but the leash was short in the ninth. He gives up a leadoff hit to Kevin Youkilis and departs to a nice hand.
By the way, the Yankees just scored twice in the eighth and twice in the ninth to rally for a 5-4 win over Toronto. Tampa Bay is winning in Detroit.
End 8th, Red Sox 4-1: Despite a leadoff walk and a wild pitch, Rich Hill extends his scoreless streak in a Red Sox uniform to 11 innings.
A flare to Carl Crawford with a man on second ends the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon is set up to work the ninth, unless Boston tacks on a few here.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: Fausto Carmona pitched a lot better than his line would suggest. He flies through the eighth to keep this one relatively close.
At 104 pitches, he may even come out for the ninth. We’ll see.
As we suspected, Rich Hill remains in the game to begin the eighth.
End 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Rich Hill is becoming a weapon. After striking out Jack Hannahan on a sweeping curve to strand two in the seventh, he now has 10 strikeouts in six scoreless innings since joing the big club.
Huge out. Hill may get the eighth, too. Daniel Bard is unavailable and the next two hitters in Cleveland’s lineup are lefties.
9:19: After getting the first two men in the seventh, Josh Beckett walks one and then gives up an infield hit to Matt LaPorta. That will do it for him.
Jack Hannahan represents the tying run and you can sense that these fans, so used to come-from-behind wins this year, are thinking of another.
Rich Hill gets the assignment. He has been fantasic so far.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-1: It was right here that we discussed some of what the Red Sox catching corps has been doing of late, including at the plate.
Jason Varitek continues the recent success of Boston backstops with his first home run since May 30, 2010, a two-run shot down the line in right that gives Josh Beckett some breathing room.
A big play in this game might be the double by David Ortiz two batters before Varitek. It was a knuckling liner that Ezequiel Carrera could not come up with.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Of course, momentum is only as strong as your starting pitcher, or the opponent’s, as the case may be with Josh Beckett.
Beckett made quick work of the top of the order in the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo stares at a called third strike to end it. That gives Beckett five K’s overall.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Every one of these games in Progressive Field have had this momentum shift in the middle innings, it seems.
If Cleveland is going to rally once again and improve to 5-0 against Boston this year, the little run that Fausto Carmona is on may end up being the springboard.
Carmona has set down 10 in a row since Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI double in the third. At 90 pitches, Carmona has more to give. He struck out Jed Lowrie and Kevin Youkilis in the sixth and has seven Ks overall, tied for a season high.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: The Indians have had a reputation for playing well in all facets of the game, but they have been woeful on the bases tonight.
In addition to the two caught stealings and Orlando Cabrera’s ill-advised dash to third back in the second (see earlier post), we have what happened in the fifth.
Standing on first with just one out, Matt LaPorta somehow managed to get doubled up on a fly to left-center field. I mean, the ball was in the gap, but it was caught with relative ease by Jacoby Ellsbury. And if he didn’t get to it, Carl Crawford would have.
Awful on LaPorta’s part. All of these mistakes have taken the load off of Josh Beckett, who has been able to get out of innings a bit earlier than the Indians would like.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Just the one bad inning so far for Fausto Carmona, who fans two in a 1-2-3 fifth.
News out of Colorado is that Jorge De La Rosa tore his UCL and will need Tommy John surgery. That’s the ligament currently dogging Daisuke Matsuzaka, although he just has a sprain. Bad news for the Rockies.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Jason Varitek has thrown out a runner at second base in consecutive innings and the Red Sox continue to creep up the rankings in that category.
They entered the night having thrown out 22 percent of would-be base stealers, not a very good mark but better than in years past and higher than three other AL teams. Boston was dead last in the category early in the year.
Travis Buck was the victim this time, although it appeared as if it was a failed hit-and-run. Still, the caught stealing helps Josh Beckett work around a leadoff walk and carry the one-run lead to the fifth.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: After tossing 30 pitches in the third, Fausto Carmona needs eight to get through the fourth.
Word is the Hideki Okajima cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket. Would not be shocked to see him again down the road, but if Rich Hill and Franklin Morales do their jobs, I would not be shocked to see Okajima included in a trade package.
Teams can always use veteran lefties in their bullpen, and Okajima has pitched in a lot of big spots.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: When the opposing pitcher loses the lead and throws 30 pitches in one inning, the best thing you can do is get your team off the field in a hurry.
Josh Beckett was on the verge of doing so after getting two very quick outs and getting ahead of Shin-Soo Choo. But Choo singled to center to extend the inning. Jason Varitek then threw him out attempting to take second, so it didn’t hurt all that much.
Fausto Carmona had some horrendous location in the top of the third. Let’s see if he can rediscover it in the fourth.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: When you hit Carl Crawford with a pitch and walk Jacoby Ellsbury, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. That was part of the problem for Fausto Carmona in the third. Location on a pitch to Adrian Gonzalez was another.
Here’s how it went down.
Crawford was hit by the second pitch of the inning and stole second on the third. He moved to third on a productive out by Drew Sutton and, after Ellsbury walked, scored on Jed Lowrie’s long fly to center.
Adrian Gonzalez then lined a hanging changeup down the right-field line for a double that scored Ellsbury.
Only five American League hitters had as many as four sacrifice flies entering the night. Lowrie is now the sixth. Three of them have come in his last nine games.
End 2nd, Indians 1-0: Josh Beckett was 35 pitches into the night and had yet to retire a batter in the second. Two men were on and it had the look of a rocky inning.
Beckett began pumping in off-speed stuff that started to do the trick. He fanned Matt LaPorta on a curveball and Jack Hannahan on a changeup.
He then had two strikes on No. 9 hitter Ezequiel Carrera, who owns all of one career hit. But Carrera grounded a ball up the middle to score one run. Bad base running by Orlando Cabrera to get thrown out trying to go first to third on the play, robbing the Indians of a chance to add on.
That could end up hurting Cleveland, but it does have the lead and it has made Beckett throw 44 pitches.
By the way, our own Peter Gammons is reporting that Daisuke Matsuzaka will see Dr. Jobe after returning from Japan. Jobe is the inventor of the Tommy John surgery, for those of you wondering what that could mean.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: David Ortiz now has 10 doubles and his average is up over .300. And as I type this, he leads the majors in extra-base hits this month with 14.
Unfortunately, Ortiz’s one-out double leads to nothing. He is caught off the base on a J.D. Drew comebacker, but does a nice job of staying alive long enough to allow Drew to get all the way to second.
Ortiz is not a runner, but he is very wise on the bases and almost always does what he’s supposed to. It’s never discussed, except by Terry Francona, who is paid to take note of such things.
Fausto Carmona struck out Jason Varitek to end the inning and leave Drew at second.
End 1st, 0-0: A leadoff walk to Michael Brantley and the threat of a steal, which eventually came, forced Josh Beckett to plod his way through the bottom of the first inning.
With Brantley on second, two outs and a full count to Carlos Santana, Beckett unleased a beautiful two-seamer that broke over the inside part of the plate for strike three.
It was Beckett’s 21st pitch. He threw only 83 his last time out and has averaged just 90 over his last five starts, one of which was rain-shortened and one of which he left with a stiff neck.
Mid 1st, 0-0: If you remove two horrible starts against the Chicago White Sox, Fausto Carmona is 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in eight starts this year.
He also has eight scoreless innings against the Red Sox after a 1-2-3 first. Jed Lowrie was a strikeout victim. The other two grounded out.
Carmona has actually allowed just one earned run in 15 innings over the course of his last two-plus starts vs. Boston.
7:06 p.m.: Fausto Carmona throws a pitch up and in to Jacoby Ellsbury, and we are playing under clear skies in Cleveland.
5:52 p.m.: So, who is Drew Sutton?
Well, he is a tall infielder who can play all four positions and serve as a corner outfielder in a pinch. He played the majority of his games at first base during spring training, but much of that was because of Adrian Gonzalez’s limited playing time coming back from shoulder surgery.
Those “Quadruple-A” guys on the fringe of the big leagues always get a lot of at-bats during spring training, and Sutton made the most of his time. He hit .317 and ranked second to Jacoby Ellsbury in runs, hits and total bases. It was only Grapefruit League play, but he certainly made an impression, and has a handful of games under his belt at the major league level, so there will be no issues with transitioning.
At Pawtucket, Sutton played second, third, shortstop and left field. He hit .307 with an impressive .906 OPS.
Sutton will obviously spell Dustin Pedroia tonight, and will be the first choice to take the place of some others until Marco Scutaro comes back. He may not be around forever, but if he is he could have the same impact on the team as Bill Hall, with perhaps less power.
On the subject of Pedroia, it was about this time last year that he received his first day off. Once he returned to the lineup, he hit .149 (17-for-114) with just one home run over his next 24 games. So, it didn’t necessarily have a positive effect.
Pedroia wasn’t dealing with anything physical then. Terry Francona just wanted to give him a day. It’s very different this time around, but thought it was worth noting what happened to the former MVP once he had some time off last year. Of course, he got red hot after that before suffering the broken foot near the end of June.
5:16 p.m.: John Lackey threw 40 fastballs in a bullpen session this afternoon and had no issues with his elbow, according to reports out of Cleveland.
Terry Francona told reporters at Progressive Field that Lackey, who is due to come off the disabled list May 27, will likely pitch in a minor league game that day and could join the rotation five days later.
Once Lackey comes back, Francona has a decision to make, that being who remains in the rotation, Tim Wakefield or Alfredo Aceves. The smart money is on Wakefield, but a lot can change between now and then, as evidenced by the constantly changing landscape of the Red Sox pitching staff.
3:44 p.m.: And here is the lineup that will take on Josh Beckett:
Michael Brantley, LF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Carlos Santana, C
Travis Buck, DH
Orlando Cabrera, 2B
Matt LaPorta, 1B
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Ezequiel Carrera, CF
The first three batters are 11-for-28 (.393) against Beckett. The next six are a combined 13-for-62 (.210).
3:10 p.m.: As expected, Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup following his left foot injury last night. Drew Sutton gets the start in his place at the end of a lineup that looks like this:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Drew Sutton, 2B
8 a.m.: Josh Beckett left his last start early with a stiff neck. He will take the mound Tuesday in Cleveland attempting to dispatch the Indians, who have been a pain in the neck for the Red Sox this year.
The Indians rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to steal a 3-2 win from the Sox in the series opener Monday. It gave Cleveland four wins in as many meetings with Boston this season, all of them at Progressive Field.
Dustin Pedroia left the game after jamming his left foot rounding the bases in the top of the eighth. He is expected to sit this one out.
Beckett’s first start of what has been a phenomenal season was in Cleveland on April 5. He gave up three runs in five innings of that one, which was his shortest start of the year not impacted by a rain delay.
The righty is 3-5 with a 5.55 ERA against the Indians, who counter with Fausto Carmona.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.