With the loss, the Red Sox fall to three games below .500 at 56-59, while the Indians move their mark to 53-61. Zach McAllister (5-4) picks up the win, while Franklin Morales (3-3) is saddled with the loss. Chris Perez picks up his 31st save on the season.
Join us tomorrow as the Red Sox try to even the four-game series before exiting Cleveland. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, and we'll be back with another live blog, but you can also tune into NESN beginning at high noon for all the pregame action. And of course, we'll have the starting lineups and everything else you could possibly need to know here on NESN.com.
That's it today from your Red Sox Live Blog. Adios, folks….
End 8th, Indians 5-2: So the Red Sox finally (!!!) find a way to get Lillibridge out, but the damage is already done, as the Indians add some insurance to go up by three.
It appears that Indians closer Chris Perez is in fact slated to take over for McAllister. With the starter only at 100 pitches and basically having dominated the Sox on the night, it's a curious decision, but clearly managers are being more cautious nowadays with young pitchers, pitch counts and innings limits. Perhaps Cleveland is just worried about protecting their young starting pitcher.
Mid 8th, Indians 4-2: That's seven perfect frames in eight innings of work for McAllister, and it's hard to imagine he won't be coming out to work the ninth inning for Cleveland.
So, one more chance for the Red Sox, who find their prolific offense stymied on the night at the hands of McAllister, who, again, doesn't appear to be doing anything fancy out there. The right-hander is just hitting his spots with his fastball and occasionally working in a curve and slider as need be.
Either way, it's been far too much to handle for the Sox, who will go to their last at-bat facing another deficit.
End 7th, Indians 4-2: Nice catch by Ellsbury on that ball off the bat of Cabrera, but it didn't look like the center fielder got a great jump off the bat, and then he seemed to take a weird route to the ball, almost seeming to overrun it as he went into his slide. It was a catch made more on Ellsbury's pure speed.
Nonetheless, the Red Sox go down another run, thanks to Brent Lillibridge and his ability to hit everything in this evening's contest. Also credit Marson, who pulled off a perfect squeeze in a tense situation.
Mid 7th, Indians 3-2: Interesting night for the Red Sox and McAllister.
The 24-year-old right-hander is in the midst of one of his best performances of the season, having yielded just the two runs through seven innings. However, McAllister has retired the Sox in order in all but one inning thus far, basically dominating Boston outside of the top of the fourth inning.
This marks just the third time on the season that McAllister has worked at least seven innings, with his high on the year at 7 2/3. At a very economical 87 pitches thus far, it looks like he could have a little left in the tank, too.
End 6th, Indians 3-2: Another great example of how well Bobby Valentine has done in handling his bullpen, and, moreover, how well the bullpen has done in fulfilling the new roles that have been asked of them as individuals.
Andrew Miller allows his fifth inherited runner on the season to score, but otherwise he and Mark Melancon did very well to limit the damage after Morales walked (and hit) the bases loaded.
Bottom 6th, 2-2: Great time to pull Morales, who was clearly either tiring or just losing his mechanics.
With three walks and a hit batter over his last three frames of work, what you were seeing from Morales was the lefty not finishing his pitches, thus losing his release point and missing the zone up-and-away to right-handed hitter, and up-and-in to lefties.
Mid 6th, 2-2: That was some pretty awful baserunning by Ellsbury there.
There's an old adage in baseball that says "Never make the first or third out at third base." Well, that should go doubly for a tie game in the latter innings, as, leading off the inning, Ellsbury doesn't need to be at third to put the team in a position to drive him in.
You'd like to put some faith in the hitters behind you, that they will be able to manufacture a run from that point by moving Ellsbury to third on a ground ball or something hit to the right side, and then grabbing a base hit or sac fly.
Instead, Ellsbury kills the rally before it can even begin.
End 5th, 2-2: There wasn't much of a secret there. Lillibridge was just sitting on the fastball, got another one, and for the second time today, didn't miss it and hit the ball very hard — this time for his second RBI.
As we were talking about earlier, if Morales continues to over-rely on the fastball, then all the Indians have to do is wait around the get one in their wheelhouse, and chances are they're going to be able to do something with it. Some pitchers have the ability to pitch off their fastball entirely, but Morales doesn't quite have the command to get away with doing so, so, again, he'll have to make some adjustments going forward.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Take away one inning for McAllister, and he's retired the Red Sox in order on the night. It doesn't look like he's doing anything terribly fancy out there, either. The right-hander simply appears to be working off his fastball, trying to stay off the outside corner and occasionally mixing in a curveball and slider to keep the Sox off balance.
Just like Gonzalez did with his double, Boston's going to have to bring McAllister back into the zone by laying off some of his tougher pitches to get something to hit.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: So, Morales continues to attack with the fastball, and it looks like the Indians are beginning to catch up to it, with Cabrera and Santana both hitting balls sharply in that last half inning.
Now, if Morales is to become a true, complete starting pitcher, it's up to him to make the adjustment at this point. Now that Cleveland looks like it's sitting on the fastball in fastball counts, Morales needs to vary his pitch selection or sequencing to keep the Tribe hitters off balance.
Aside from that, credit Pedroia for turning a great double play. There aren't many second basemen in baseball who are able to turn that into a single out, much less two.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: See what speed does for a team?
Although Pedroia may be about a step behind the other two, having the trio of Ellsbury, Crawford and Pedroia at the top of the lineup is a fast, fast way to start off. You saw the benefits of that speed in that last half inning, as Crawford's bunt put a lot of pressure on the defense. McAllister ultimately panicked and couldn't get an out anywhere. That goes double for Lillibridge's mental gaffe on Pedroia's ground ball.
That speed set up Adrian Gonzalez with a chance to drive in some runs, an opportunity he took advantage of with a double off the left-field wall.
End 3rd, Indians 1-0: Well, we're not sure if he had any extra incentive to perform well against the Red Sox, but Lillibridge got one pitch to hit from Morales and didn't miss it, depositing the ball well back into the left-field stands.
Aside from that, with 57 pitches through three innings of work, Morales is not being terribly economical, which could hurt him and the Sox later in this game. However, the extra pitches aren't entirely his fault. Morales looks to be doing well to attack the zone, but an 11-pitch at-bat to Donald certainly doesn't help matters. Still, the left-hander has struck out five and yielded just the one hit through three innings.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Thus far, McAllister has matched Morales pitch-for-pitch and has retired the Red Sox in order their first time through the lineup.
In other news, it's being reported that the Yankees have signed the recently released Derek Lowe, after the veteran right-hander, and former Red Sox pitcher, spent most of the year with Cleveland. It's a poor substitute for CC Sabathia, but the Yankees' rotation really isn't in great shape right now.
#Yankees have signed Derek Lowe, who has agreed to pitch out of the pen
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 11, 2012
End 2nd, 0-0: Command has always been the name of the game for Morales. No one has ever questioned his pure stuff, as it's not too often you get the chance to acquire a lefty with mid-90s velocity and some devastating movement on his pitches.
However, the reason the Rockies gave up on Morales was that he couldn't control that stuff, and thus never turned into the pitcher they needed him to be. So who knows if his time in the bullpen with Boston has helped him become more focused, but he's looked like a completely different person in the starting role this year, and he's making a strong argument to be included in Boston's plans moving forward to future seasons.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Duncan looked very uncomfortable going back on that ball off the bat of Saltalamachhia, but nonetheless, the Red Sox go down in order in the second inning.
It's a little disappointing early for the Red Sox, who probably wanted to try to jump on McAllister early, given that the right-hander is coming off of his worst start of the season, yielding nine runs (albeit only two earned) in 1 2/3 innings of work against the Twins — hardly a prolific offense — his last time out.
End 1st, 0-0: Certainly a good early sign for Morales there, as he strikes out the side in the opening frame — each swinging.
Morales' breaking ball looked just plain nasty in the first inning, getting Cabrera and Choo to take some very awkward swings trying to protect the plate on balls way out of the zone.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Well, the post-Will Middlebrooks era of 2012 begins today. Like all the other injuries the Red Sox have faced this season, it's something they'd prefer to not have to deal with, but such is the reality the club faces.
Pedro Ciriaco gets the start today, but it's hard to see him filling that role long-term. For one, he's clearly out of position, having only played there twice before in the big leagues. Secondly, he has very little power — making Ciriaco ill-suited for third base — and has shown little ability to draw walks, making keeping his bat in the starting lineup regularly a questionable decision. On Saturday, though, he starts ahead of Danny Valencia and Nick Punto.
6:23 p.m.: So after a little bit of a delay so the Indians could honor Gaylord Perry, we have first pitch! And for those wondering, the game-time temperature is 69 degrees with 73 percent humidity and winds from the southwest at about 14 miles per hour.
5:30 p.m.: With Will Middlebrooks out for what looks like perhaps the rest of the season after breaking his wrist in the ninth inning of Boston's 3-2 Friday night win over the Indians, Pedro Ciriaco is to the rescue, taking over at third base Saturday.
Ciriaco's bat may be a poor substitute for the power and production of the rookie Middlebrooks, but such is the Red Sox season thus far. With all the injuries the team has dealt with, it feels like every time someone gets ready to return, another key cog goes down with another malady. In truth, with the injues combined with the general ineffectiveness of Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, it's kind of amazing the Sox have been able to tread water and hang around the .500 mark this season.
That being said, it's not over yet, and today Boston features youngster Ryan Lavarnway taking at-bats as the designated hitter, while Franklin Morales gets sent to the hill for his second consecutive start.
Check out the lineups for both teams:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Mike Aviles, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Franklin Morales, LHP
Jason Donald, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Carlos Santana, DH
Michael Brantley, CF
Shelley Duncan, LF
Brent Lillibridge, 3B
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Lou Marson, C
Zach McAllister, RHP
8 a.m. ET: Clay Buchholz did all he could and maybe some more in getting the Red Sox out of their three-game slide Friday night. But as the day turns anew, the ball will be handed to Franklin Morales to try to keep Boston's playoff dreams alive.
Morales, who seems to be a lock to be in the Sox rotation from this point forward, was impressive in his last outing Sunday against the Twins when he struck out six and allowed just one run over six innings of work.
Cody Ross will look to keep the Boston bats alive after crushing the game-winning two-run homer on Friday, and Dustin Pedroia will likely be working to keep his hot streak alive after getting a pair of hits in the 3-2 win.
Tune into NESN at 5 p.m. for the Red Sox pregame show and be sure to catch all the action live as first pitch will get things under way at 6:05 p.m.