The Indians departed for their West Coast road trip on Thursday with a lot of momentum on their side. They finished up a homestand in which they went 4-2 with four straight wins. The last three wins came in a series sweep of the now 0-6 Boston Red Sox.
The game on Thursday was one dominated by starting pitching. Both teams had their aces on the mound with Jon Lester for Boston and Fausto Carmona for the Tribe. Both threw 109 pitches and pitched seven innings. Both of them also received no decisions.
The pitchers had the advantage for a few reasons. One was that it was a noon game following a night game on Wednesday. The hitters are on short rest while the pitchers have been resting for four days. Another reason was the weather. It was 38 degrees at first pitch and fog was rolling in for most of the game.
The game became interesting once the starting pitches left the game. In the top of the eighth, Chad Durbin came on for the Indians. On Wednesday he faced one batter and struck that batter out. In today’s game he had different results. He forced the first batter he faced, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, to line out but the next two batters reached base on a single and a walk respectively.
Rafael Perez came in the game and quickly recorded an out. With two outs and runners on second and third, Dustin Pedroia hit a weak ground ball down the third base line. Perez got to the ball quickly and threw a strike to first to keep the score at 0-0.
Daniel Bard came on in the eighth to relieve Lester. He walked the number 9 batter in Adam Everett which proved to be a terrible mistake. Everett stole second and Orlando Cabrera laid down a sac bunt to advance Everett to third with one out. Asdrubal Cabrera came to the plate and was quickly ahead in the count 2-1. To the surprise of the Red Sox infield and everyone in attendance, Everett broke for home and Asdrubal laid down a bunt. It was a perfect squeeze bunt as it was right down the third base line.
Bard got out of the inning allowing no hits, but the one run came across on a great display of small ball by the Indians. The 1-0 score became final, but not before some theatrics in the top of the ninth. Closer Chris Perez got two quick outs and then went on to walk David Ortiz. Ortiz was pinch run for by Darnell McDonald. JD Drew came to the plate and hit a ground ball that deflected off of Perez’s leg. Adam Everett fielded the ball and had no real chance at recording an out. That was until McDonald rounded second and fell down. The crowd was yelling for Everett to throw the ball to second and catch McDonald for the final out. He threw it to Orlando Cabrera at second who laid the tag on McDonald for the final out and the sweep.
This game sums up the season so far for both teams. For the Indians, it shows how they can fight hard for wins through strategic baseball. The Red Sox see themselves lose for the sixth straight time to start the year in a game with little offensive production.
The Indians head to Seattle while the Red Sox play their home opener versus the Yankees on Friday.
Game Notes: Rafael Perez received his second win on the year while Chris Perez received his second save of the year.
Travis Hafner, Michael Brantley, and Jack Hannahan all had the day off. Brantley came in for defense in the ninth, but did not record an at bat.