Final, Indians 5-4: The Indians won the back-and-forth game at Progressive Field on Thursday night.
The Red Sox had one last chance to get a run in the top of the ninth, and Allen struck out Bradley and Leon to start the final frame. But Benintendi kept the Sox alive with a two-out single and the top of Boston’s order to follow him. Pedroia put up one heck of an at-bat, but a check-swing strikeout, which had been plaguing the Red Sox the entire game, ended the contest with a loss for Boston.
Still, the Red Sox were able to put up some decent offense despite Betts, Ortiz and Bogaerts going a combined 1-for-11 and the entire lineup swinging at some questionable pitches all night, so it’s not over yet. Game 2 starts at 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday, and David Price and Corey Kluber will face off.
End 8th, Indians 5-4: Koji Uehara got the call in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Jose Ramirez, but Chisenhall grounded into a double play. Hanley Ramirez made a great grab on sharp ground ball to put out Crisp and end the inning.
Mid 8th, Indians 5-4: The leadoff home run has been a problem for both teams, as Holt got in on the action to start the eighth. Right-hander Cody Allen replaced Shaw with one out, but Ortiz then smacked a one-out double to right. Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Ortiz and made it to third on a Hanley Ramirez groundout, but it went for naught as Bogaerts struck out.
End 7th, Indians 5-3: Farrell stuck with Pomeranz in the seventh. The lefty gave up a one-out single to Kipnis, and he didn’t get to face Napoli, who’s had Pomeranz’s number in the past, after striking out Lindor. Joe Kelly got the ball instead and struck out Nap on a 98-mph heater.
Mid 7th, Indians 5-3: Miller continued to prey on the Red Sox, getting Leon to ground out and striking out Benintendi before getting pulled for right-hander Bryan Shaw, who induced a groundout to Pedroia.
End 6th, Indians 5-3: Pomeranz came back out in the sixth and struck out the side, sitting down Crisp, pinch-hitter Rajai Davis and Perez.
Mid 6th, Indians 5-3: Miller pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning, with Hanley Ramirez and Bogaerts going down by way of the K and Bradley popping out to short.
End 5th, Indians 5-3: Porcello gave up a leadoff double to Perez, but when the catcher reached second on a flyout by Santana, the right-hander’s night was over after 4 1/3 innings. Drew Pomeranz relieved Porcello, and he immediately allowed the latter’s baserunner to score on a Kipnis single. The lefty then gave up a two-out ground-rule double to Napoli and intentionally walked Jose Ramirez to load the bases before striking out Chisenhall to end the frame.
Porcello gave up five earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three homers.
Mid 5th, Indians 4-3: Sandy Leon continued the leadoff home run theme by sending a ball deep to center field to cut Cleveland’s lead in half. Benintendi then lined out, and Pedroia struck out, but that was it for Bauer. Indians manager Terry Francona elected to go with his best reliever, Andrew Miller, who gave up a two-out double to Holt and walked Betts. However, Miller struck out David Ortiz to end the threat.
Bauer gave up three runs on six hits — including two home runs — with no walks and six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.
End 4th, Indians 4-2: Porcello had a much more productive fourth inning, retiring the Indians on 14 pitches with strikeouts to Chisenhall and Naquin.
Mid 4th, Indians 4-2: Hanley Ramirez hit a one-out double, but the Red Sox couldn’t do anything with it, as Bogaerts and Bradley both struck out.
End 3rd, Indians 4-2: Well, the Red Sox’s lead didn’t last very long. Like Bauer, Porcello gave up a solo home run to the No. 9 hitter to start the frame, and this time it was Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez. He got Santana to ground out but surrendered back-to-back solo shots to Kipnis and Lindor. Napoli grounded out, and Jose Ramirez flied out, but needless to say, it wasn’t a good inning for Porcello.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Left fielder Andrew Benintendi came up big in his first postseason at-bat, smacking a solo home run to right center field to give Boston a lead. Bauer retired Pedroia, Holt and Betts in order after Benintendi’s dinger, though.
End 2nd, 1-1: Porcello let the leadoff man reach once again after giving up a double to Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, and it turned into Cleveland’s first run when right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall singled before getting caught trying to reach second on Bradley’s throw home. Coco Crisp then lined out, and Porcello struck out rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Bauer made quick work of the Red Sox in the second, striking out Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. before getting catcher Sandy Leon to pop out.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Cleveland’s leadoff batter reached base, too, after Porcello hit designated hitter Carlos Santana’s feet with his second pitch of the game. But the right-hander certainly settled down after that, striking out Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli in order to end the frame.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Dustin Pedroia got the Red Sox started with a leadoff double, and third baseman Brock Holt followed up with a single to put Pedroia on third. First baseman Hanley Ramirez hit a two-out double to put the Red Sox on top, but Holt got caught trying to follow Pedroia home.
7:53 p.m. ET: After two consecutive last-place finishes in the American League East, the Boston Red Sox are back on top and ready to take on the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of their AL Division Series.
The Red Sox surrendered home-field advantage in this round after losing five of their final six regular-season games, so Thursday’s contest is at Progressive Field. However, Boston had one of the best road records in Major League Baseball at 46-35. The Red Sox also won their regular-season series against Cleveland 4-2.
Rick Porcello will start for Boston against fellow right-hander Trevor Bauer. Porcello has been the Red Sox’s undisputed ace this season and will look to continue that success in the postseason. Bauer, on the other hand, struggled down the stretch, compiling a 6.39 ERA in his five starts in September and one in October.
The Red Sox and Indians officially begin Game 1 at 8 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images