Final, Indians 7-3: Chris Perez is one of the better closers you haven't heard much about, and he showed why in the ninth. Working in a non-save situation, Perez retired the Sox in order in the ninth.
So, no ninth-inning magic for the home team in this one, as the Sox will have to settle for a split.
At last check, the Yankees were winning in Chicago, meaning they may come to Boston for a three-game set over the weekend tied with the Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
Mid 9th, Indians 7-3: Andrew Miller looked less-than-great in his outing, an outing that ended early in the ninth.
Miller was pulled after he gave up a Kosuke Fukodome RBI double to left making the comeback look a little less possible.
End 8th, Indians 6-3: Pestano came out to face Kevin Youkilis and quickly retired him on fly out before handing the ball over to Tony Sipp.
Sipp, who has allowed just three earned runs in his last 37 appearances (35 innings), got Ortiz to fly out and Carl Crawford to ground out to Asdrubal Cabrera at short.
Chris Perez will likely come on in the bottom of the ninth to try to pick up his 23rd save of the season. Before then, though, Miller will head to the mound for his third inning of work, in the hopes of keeping the Indians' advantage at only three runs.
Mid 8th, Indians 6-3: Andrew Miller allowed a couple of baserunners in the eighth, but he kept the Indians off the board for the first time in three innings.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the top of the eighth with a soft line-drive single into center. Matt LaPorta, with already two hits, then line out softly to the Sox center fielder.
Fukudome moved up into scoring position by swiping second base, his third of the season. Miller than plunked Kearns, but neither runner would advance, as Miller struck out Jack Hannahan and got Carrera to bounce one to second base.
End 7th, Indians 6-3: Vinnie Pestano took over for Justin Masterson in the seventh inning and worked around a free pass to Jacoby Ellsbury to pitch a scoreless inning.
Marco Scutaro grounded out for the first out, while Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging and Adrian Gonzalez bounced out to second for the frame's other two outs.
Assuming that's it for Pestano, it marks the 36th time in 46 appearances that he's held his opponents scoreless. It also marks the 36th time in 46 appearances that he's recorded at least one strikeout.
He had been struggling recently, giving up 10 earned runs in his previous 12 1/3 innings before tonight, but he showed good life on his fastball and was able to retire the tough top of the Sox order without anything going up on the scoreboard.
Mid 7th, Indians 6-3: Travis Hafner is really hammering the ball tonight. He collected his third hit of the evening on a double that scored Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Indians a 6-3 lead.
Miller started the inning off strong, getting Carrera to ground out and then striking out Kipnis. But Cabrera reached on a line-drive base hit past a diving Marco Scutaro, setting the table for Hafner's RBI double.
Miller was able to retire Carlos Santana for the first time tonight, though, which ended the frame before any more damage could be done.
The Sox will send up Scutaro, Ellsbury and Pedroia in the home half of the seventh. Now, it's time to get a quick seventh-inning stretch in before pushing on.
End 6th, Indians 5-3: Kevin Youkilis grounded out to begin the bottom of the sixth, but David Ortiz followed up with the type of at-bat that you often look back on and say that it changed the game.
Ortiz worked a nine-pitch walk, which included fouling off five pitches all over the ballpark.
Crawford then saw seven pitches himself before grounding into what could have potentially been an inning-ending double play. Instead, Jason Donald's throw to second sailed a bit high and ricocheted off the glove of the second baseman, Kipnis, who will receive the error on the play.
After a quick visit to the mound, Josh Reddick lined a 1-0 fastball right at Kearns in left. He struck it pretty well, but it was just a hard-hit out. Varitek then went down swinging for the inning's third out and Masterson's ninth strikeout.
The Sox looked poised to stage a rally that inning, with Ortiz and Crawford really making Masterson labor. But give credit to the young right-hander, as he was able to work around some sloppy defense to escape the inning unscathed.
Andrew Miller will take over on the mound for the Sox.
Mid 6th, Indians 5-3: Franklin Morales took over for Bedard in the sixth, and it wasn't pretty.
Travis Hafner crushed one to center fielder that landed about halfway up the center-fielder wall, a few feet above a leaping Ellsbury.
Carlos Santana, who already had two hits and an RBI off Bedard, wasn't much kinder to Morales. He tattooed the first pitch he saw for a two-run blast, giving the Tribe a 5-3 lead.
Morales night was over after a 1/3 inning, and the struggles came only hours after manager Terry Francona had praised the job that he and Randy Williams had done on back-to-back nights on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Alfredo Aceves took over for Morales and he was greeted with a wall-ball double by Matt LaPorta — his second hit of the night. But Aceves bounced back to strike out both Austin Kearns and Jason Donald on called third strikes.
Bedard threw 70 pitches over five innings in his Sox debut (49 for strikes). He gave up three runs (all earned) on seven hits, while striking out five.
End 5th, 3-3: Marco Scutaro flew out to right to begin the inning, but the hot-hitting Ellsbury followed up with a sinking line drive that dropped just in front of the left fielder, Austin Kearns, for a base hit. Ellsbury took a wide turn around first, but quickly threw on the breaks.
Pedroia put good wood on the ball, going the other way, but it was an easy out for the right fielder, Fukudome. Gonzalez then ended the inning on a routine fly ball to left.
Mid 5th, 3-3: Erik Bedard put together his second straight 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. He got Carrera to ground out to Youkilis at third to begin things, and then Kipnis to fly out to Crawford in left.
Asdrubal Cabrera flew out to Reddick to end the inning. It came on a patented Bedard curveball. The last pitch was Bedard's 70th of the night, which means he's likely done for the night.
End 4th, 3-3: Justin Masterson started off strong again in the fourth, blowing a 95-mph fastball past David Ortiz for his seventh strikeout of the night and then getting Crawford to ground out to short.
But Josh Reddick tied things up with a big fly to right field on a 1-0 pitch. It's his fifth of the season and atones for an earlier throwing error during a two-run inning for the Indians.
Masterson concluded the inning by striking out Jason Varitek swinging.
Mid 4th, Indians 3-2: It's tough to get a read on Bedard right now, as the lefty came back out after a few rocky innings and shut down the Indians offense.
He retired the first two-hitters, Matt LaPorta and Austin Kearns, via strikeouts. He got LaPorta swinging on a 92-mph fastball and Kearns on one that he dialed up to 93.
Jason Donald put a decent charge into a Bedard offering on the first pitch he saw, but Jacoby Ellsbury was able to reel it in center.
Bedard's now thrown 58 pitches on the night, which means we'll likely see him for another inning or two, as long as he's able to keep the Indians in check.
End 3rd, Indians 3-2: Masterson made quick work of the Sox in the bottom of the third, as ground outs by Pedroia and Youkilis sandwiched an Adrian Gonzalez strikeout.
Masterson is looking sharp now after a rough first inning.
Mid 3rd, Indians 3-2: The Indians jumped ahead in the third inning on a Carlos Santana two-out RBI single.
After an Ezequiel Carrera line out, Jason Kipnis singled to get things going. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded to third, which the Sox were almost able to turn into a double-play, but Cabrera was able to beat Pedroia's throw at first.
Pedroia was a little shaken up on the play, which prompted Terry Francona and the team trainer to come out. But he stayed in the game and appears to be OK.
Hafner and Santana then followed up with back-to-back singles for the third Cleveland run.
It was a strange beginning to the frame. Josh Reddick struck out swinging, but the ball traveled to the backstop. Catcher (not singer) Carlos Santana was able to track it down, but his throw sailed over the head of the first baseman, LaPorta, allowing Reddick to reach safely.
The 26-year-old Masterson then decided to use it as an opportunity to compile four K's in one inning, sitting down Jason Varitek, Marco Scutaro and Jacoby Ellsbury in order.
It marks the sixth time in Indians history that a pitcher has recorded four strikeouts in one inning. It also ties a major league record. The last to do so for the Indians was Chuck Finley on April 16, 2000. He did it in the third inning against the Texas Rangers.
Could that fact get any more fun?
Anywho, Masterson showed great command in that second inning. His slider to Ellsbury that ended the inning showed a lot of bite. The Sox have to hope he doesn't settle in, especially given the success the righty has had against them in the past.
Mid 2nd, 2-2: Well, the second inning wasn't quite as easy as the first for Bedard, with the Indians pushing across two runs to tie the game.
The inning started off easily, with Bedard mowing down Travis Hafner on four pitches.
But then Carlos Santana represented the Indians' first base runner of the night on a base hit to left. The next batter, the newly acquired Kosuke Fukudome, then hit a single past the dive of Dustin Pedroia. Reddick came up firing to third, but it got away, marking Reddick's second throwing error of the series.
Matt LaPorta hit a slow roller to first that was eventually gobbled up by Gonzalez, but no one covered the bag, allowing Santana to score. The next play presented another opportunity, though, as Gonzalez made a diving snag and tossed it over to Bedard for the inning's second out — but also the Indians' second run.
The Indians threatened to take the lead, with Jason Donald ripping a base hit to left field. But Carl Crawford came up firing to Kevin Youkilis, who then sent a perfect relay throw to Varitek to nail Matt LaPorta at the plate to end the inning.
The damage was done, though, with the Indians tying the score at two.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox wasted no time showing Erik Bedard that they'll provide him with a lot more run support than his previous light-hitting teams. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind an RBI double from Adrian Gonzalez and an RBI single from David Ortiz.
Jacoby Ellsbury, as expected, got a great ovation to lead off the home half of the first. He then ensured the Fenway crowd would be right back on its feet, as he went the other way with a Justin Masterson sinker for a base hit.
Pedroia followed up with a ground out to third on a hit-and-run, which Ellsbury was able to advance to second on. Then, Gonzalez delivered his double, which extended his hitting streak to a season-high 14 games.
Kevin Youkilis was called out on strikes, before David Ortiz ripped a single into right field for the game's second run.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Well, Erik Bedard is perfect in his Red Sox debut. OK, you're right, it's only one inning, but Bedard looked solid in the first.
He struck out the leadoff hitter, Ezequiel Carrera, on a foul tip into Varitek's mitt.
The second batter, Jason Kipnis, who's homered in four straight games, then forced Bedard to make a play. He grounded out to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who flipped it over to Bedard just in time.
The third batter of the inning, the red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera, popped one along the first baseline that Gonzalez was able to track down just in front of the tarp — which is hopefully the only time I'll use the word "tarp" tonight.
6:44 p.m.: The Fenway Park crowd is still buzzing from Jacoby Ellbury's walk-off heroics on back-to-back nights. The only drawback on Wednesday night, though, was Tim Wakefield's inability to pick up win No. 200.
Manger Terry Francona was asked before the game how he deals with deciding how long to keep Wakefield in when it comes to his pursuit of the milestone.
"I'm aware of what he's trying to do," he said. "But I don't think you can do things differently."
On Wednesday night, Francona lifted Wakefield with two outs in the seventh inning, which drew some boos from the Fenway Park crowd that wanted to see the Sox skipper leave him in for one more batter. He said that it's definitely a difficult thing to deal with, especially given the amount of other decisions he needs to make throughout the course of a game.
"I think [if] you start taking your head out and putting your heart in, you're probably going to make mistakes, and I don't want to do that," he said.
5:15 p.m.: Erik Bedard will soon take the Fenway Park in a Red Sox uniform for the first time. And when he does, he'll have the captain guiding him along.
Jason Varitek will be Bedard's battery mate this evening, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia slated to start the next couple of games, according to manager Terry Francona.
Francona said that he thinks it's probably a smart move to have Tek lead Bedard through his first start, although the move also balances things out for the Sox' catching tandem, who get set for a three-game series with the Yankees this weekend.
Here is a look at the rest of Thursday's lineups.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Josh Reddick, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Marco Scutaro, SS
Ezequiel Carrera, CF
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Travis Hafner, DH
Carlos Santana, C
Kosuke Fukudome, RF
Matt LaPorta, 1B
Austin Kearns, LF
Jason Donald, 3B
8 a.m.: Red Sox fans, get ready for your first taste of Erik Bedard. It'll likely only be a small sample, with Bedard expected to throw around 75-80 pitches, but we'll at least get to see the lefty throw on a Sox uniform for the first time.
Bedard's start comes on the heels of back-to-back walk-off wins for the Sox, both of which ended on a Jacoby Ellsbury swing of the bat. When you consider the late-inning heroics and the three-game showdown with the Yankees that's looming, Bedard will surely be headed to the mound in front of an energetic Fenway crowd.
The new Sox lefty is 2-2 with a 4.44 ERA in 10 career starts against the Indians.
In his last start with the Mariners, Bedard got lit up by the Tampa Bay Rays, surrendering five earned runs through 1 1/3 innings. It would have been more shocking had Bedard delivered a big game, though, as he was fresh off the disabled list without even having made a rehab start in the minors.
Terry Francona and Co., by setting a pitch count for Bedard's Sox debut, show that they're going to take a more patient approach with the lefty, as he ultimately could make a bid for the No. 3 spot in the rotation.
Going up against Bedard will be old pal Justin Masterson.
Masterson pitched 7 2/3 solid innings the last time he faced his former team, allowing only two runs on four hits while striking out three, despite earning a no decision.
In two starts against the Sox last season, he allowed only one run in 14 innings while picking up two wins. In fact, he threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout against the Sox in Cleveland on June 9 of last year.
Keep it here for updates throughout the day, as I'll try to do my best Tony Lee impersonation and keep you in the loop from a buzzing Fenway Park.
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