Andrew Bailey put a bow on another solid performance from the Red Sox’ bullpen in the ninth, and Boston will look to cap off a series sweep on Thursday night after a 6-3 victory on Wednesday.
The Red Sox’ offense jumped all over Justin Masterson early, scoring three runs in the first inning and then adding on throughout the game behind a heck of a performance from the top of the order. The Sox did squander a couple of bases-loaded opportunities, but Boston’s No. 1-5 hitters went 12-for-23 with four RBIs in the win.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Mike Carp each had three hits, while Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava had two apiece. The Sox finished with 15 total hits.
Alfredo Aceves was solid through his first five innings before struggling in the sixth. He gave up home runs to Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi in that inning, which enabled the Indians to climb back into the game. The Red Sox’ bullpen came on and threw four perfect innings in relief, though, and the Tribe never really stood a chance once John Farrell handed the ball over to the ‘pen.
Jon Lester will look to continue his impressive start to the season on Thursday. The game’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, so be sure to tune in on NESN and check back here at NESN.com throughout the day.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-3: Vinnie Pestano ensured the Indians wouldn’t have any more on their plates in the ninth inning.
Pestano retired Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in order in the top of the ninth, and the Tribe will come up with their deficit at three runs.
Nava flew out, and Middlebrooks and Saltalamacchia struck out.
Cord Phelps, Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs are due up against Andrew Bailey in the bottom of the ninth.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Koji Uehara’s streak of success continues.
Uehara retired the side in order in the eighth, with the final two outs coming via strikeouts. Uehara fanned Jason Giambi and Mark Reynolds, which got the always animated pitcher very fired up as he headed toward the Boston dugout.
With the impressive inning, Uehara has now tossed 18 consecutive scoreless frames dating back to Sept. 1, 2012. That’s his personal-best scoreless streak in the majors.
Uehara’s scoreless streak spans 20 outings, during which the right-hander has struck out 24, yielded just three hits and walked two (one intentionally). That’s dominance.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-3: The Red Sox are up to 15 hits in the game, and their lead is now 6-3.
Rich Hill started the eighth inning for Cleveland, and he gave up a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, who has three hits. Ellsbury blooped a popup into shallow left-center field. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera raced out and got a glove on it, sending the ball flying behind his back. Cabrera nearly caught it behind his back, in fact, but it dropped in to allow Ellsbury to reach.
Ellsbury’s single spelled the end of Rich Hill’s outing. Hill was replaced by Joe Smith, who immediately threw a wild pitch that enabled Ellsbury to scamper up to second base.
Shane Victorino, who had reached safely in all four of his plate appearances, dropped a bunt down. Smith came off the mound to make a play, but his throw sailed out of Mark Reynolds’ reach at first base. Ellsbury scored Boston’s sixth run.
Dustin Pedroia struck out for the third time, and Mike Napoli grounded into an inning-ending double play, but adding another run doesn’t hurt. Koji Uehara will come on to pitch the eighth for Boston.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-3: That was a very impressive inning for Junichi Tazawa, who has now retired all six hitters he’s faced.
Tazawa has shown great life on his fastball, and he struck out the side in the seventh inning. Michael Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana all went down by way of the K.
Brantley fanned on a 95-mph fastball, while Santana fanned on a 96-mph heater. In between, Cabrera looked at a 95-mph fastball for the second out.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-3: The Indians flashed some leather in the seventh.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off with a fly ball toward the left-center field gap. Drew Stubbs, who made a horrible play in center field earlier, sprinted over and made a very nice grab this time around.
Stephen Drew then threatened to drop one into right field, but Nick Swisher made a great snag while tumbling to the outfield grass for out No. 2.
Manager John Farrell elected to bring up Jonny Gomes for Mike Carp, who had three extra-base hits in the game, and the move proved to be fruitless. Gomes struck out looking to cap off a big, 1-2-3 inning from former Red Sox hurler Rich Hill.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-3: Junichi Tazawa came on and retired the three batters he faced in the sixth inning, although it wasn’t before a brief scare.
Lonnie Chisenhall gave one a ride to center field with one out. It initially looked as if it had a chance to leave the yard, but Jacoby Ellsbury managed to haul it in on the edge of the warning track.
With the inherited runner not scoring, Alfredo Aceves is charged with three earned runs over five innings.
9:26 p.m., Red Sox 5-3: Things in Cleveland have changed in a heartbeat.
Alfredo Aceves came back out for another inning of work, but he was unable to retire an out while surrendering three runs, and the Indians are very much back in this ballgame.
Aceves issued a walk to Carlos Santana to begin the inning, and Nick Swisher launched a two-run home run to center field to put the Tribe on the board. Jason Giambi followed with a moon shot of his own to right-center.
Pitching coach Juan Nieves then paid Aceves a visit, but it didn’t do much to settle the right-hander down. Aceves gave up a double to Mark Reynolds, who ripped it down the left-field line.
The Red Sox are now turning to Junichi Tazawa with no outs in the sixth and their lead suddenly at just two.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-0: The Red Sox added a run in the sixth inning, and a few familiar faces did the damage.
Shane Victorino led off with a base hit into center field. He now has three hits, and he’s reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances.
Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging for the first out, but Mike Napoli continued his tear with a double that one-hopped off the left-field wall, setting up runners at second and third. Daniel Nava then drove in his second run of the game on a base hit into right field.
Nava tried to steal second base with runners at the corners, and he was gunned down for the inning’s second out. Will Middlebrooks flew out to right field to end the inning.
Alfredo Aceves, who is up to 87 pitches, will come back out for the bottom of the sixth.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: The Red Sox have left the bases loaded twice in this game. In the fifth inning, it was the Indians’ turn to squander an opportunity.
After two quick outs, Alfredo Aceves ran into his first major trouble of the game. Lonnie Chisenhall singled into left field, and Drew Stubbs followed up with a double to put runners at second and third.
Michael Brantley then walked, prompting a mound visit. Alfredo Aceves fired a pitch in the dirt that briefly got away from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but Chisenhall decided not to try and score with the four-run deficit. Aceves then got Asdrubal Cabrera to fly out to right field, although it took a nice running grab from Shane Victorino.
Off the bat, it looked as if Cabrera was going to cut into Boston’s lead, but the ball hung up just long enough for Victorino to track it down and make a lunging grab. Victorino has been doing it all in this game. He showed off his strong arm on an outfield assist earlier in the contest, and he’s reached base three times.
Corey Kluber will replace Justin Masterson in the sixth inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: You think Mike Carp was ready for his first start of the season?
After Stephen Drew worked a two-out walk, Carp launched a triple off the center-field wall to extend Boston’s lead to 4-0. Carp now has three extra-base hits in the game, as he already had two doubles to his credit.
Carp entered the game with just three at-bats on the season.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Alfredo Aceves has retired five hitters in a row.
Aceves cruised through the bottom of the fourth inning. He got Carlos Santana to ground out, and then scattered a couple of line outs to the outfield.
Aceves has thrown 62 pitches thus far, and he has given up just two hits in his four innings of work. It’s amazing that Boston’s lead is just 3-0, especially since the Sox have 10 hits to Cleveland’s two.
8:38 p.m.: Now this is something I absolutely have to pass along.
As mentioned earlier, the Bruins are in action over at the TD Garden, and as expected, it was an extremely emotional scene before the game. Rene Rancourt came out to sing the national anthem as he usually does, and he got just a few seconds in before letting the Boston crowd take over.
It was truly powerful stuff. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly suggest you check it out. It really shows what the city of Boston is all about.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: If the Indians fight their way back, it’ll be in large part because the Red Sox have failed to capitalize on some golden opportunities.
The Red Sox left the bases loaded again in the fourth inning. It’s the second time in this game they’ve left the bases juiced against Justin Masterson, as they also did so back in the second inning.
The top of the fourth inning started with Mike Carp doubling over the head of Drew Stubbs in center field. Stubbs probably should have been able to retreat and make a play, but he took a horrendous route to the ball, and it dropped near the warning track.
After Jacoby Ellsbury flew out, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia struck back-to-back singles. Victorino has now reached base in all three of his plate appearances, as he has two singles and was hit by a pitch.
The Red Sox had just the guy they wanted at the plate in Mike Napoli, who has 16 RBIs on the season after a two-run single back in the first. Napoli couldn’t come through, though, which put the pressure on Daniel Nava, who also drove in a run back in the first.
Nava didn’t wait around, as he took a cut at the first two pitches he saw. Nava fouled off the first offering, but then grounded the second one to Mark Reynolds down at first base for the inning’s final out.
Justin Masterson’s outing has been a struggle, but somehow he’s managed to surrender just three runs — all of which came in the first inning. Masterson has given up 10 hits in the game.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Shane Victorino’s transition to right field this season has been seamless.
Lonnie Chisenhall led off the bottom of the third by drilling a hit into right field. He tried to stretch it into a double, which proved to be bad move. Victorino threw out Chisenhall, marking the Flyin’ Hawaiian’s third outfield assist of the season.
Drew Stubbs worked a one-out walk, and then swiped second base. He wouldn’t pose much of a threat, though, as Alfredo Aceves got Michael Brantley to ground out to short and Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out to second.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Justin Masterson actually enjoyed an easy inning.
After giving up three runs in the first and being forced to escape a bases-loaded jam in the second, Masterson pitched a 1-2-3 frame in the third.
The first two outs were particularly easy, with Will Middlebrooks flying out to right field and Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounding out to short. The Red Sox then nearly benefited from a miscue by Asdrubal Cabrera, who bobbled a ground ball off the bat of Stephen Drew, but the Indians shortstop managed to regroup and record the inning’s final out.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Nick Swisher led off the inning with a single, but Alfredo Aceves settled down to retire the next three batters he faced.
Jason Giambi — who I still can’t believe is still kicking around the league — popped out to short for the first out. Mark Reynolds — who made a nice play ranging toward the seats to retire Mike Napoli during the last half inning — grounded to Napoli, who stepped on the first-base bag for the second out.
Alfredo Aceves struck out Cord Phelps swinging to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox’ offense went right back to work in the second inning, but after some serious pressure was applied, Justin Masterson managed to settle down and escape the inning unscathed.
Mike Carp, who entered the game with only three at-bats, doubled down the left-field line to lead things off. Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino then strung together back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs.
At that point, it looked as if the Sox were poised for a knockout blow. Masterson got himself off the ropes, though, so we’ll see if the Tribe can build some momentum off his narrow escape.
Dustin Pedroia struck out, Mike Napoli popped out in foul territory along the first-base line and Daniel Nava flew out to left field.
End 1st, Red Sox 3-0: Alfredo Aceves’ first inning went much more smoothly than Justin Masterson’s did. Aceves retired the Indians in order.
Michael Brantley lined out to right field, and Asdrubal Cabrera flew out to left field. Aceves then went to the changeup in order to strike out Carlos Santana swinging.
Aceves is making his first back-to-back starts since May 2011. He’s obviously doing so in place of John Lackey, who manager John Farrell said before the game is “making very good progress.” Lackey apparently doesn’t have any more symptoms remaining in his bicep area, so that’s certainly positive news for the Red Sox.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 3-0: Justin Masterson allowed more runs without retiring an out in this game than he had allowed all season.
Jacoby Ellsbury put an inside-out swing on a fastball to lead off the game with a single into left field. Ellsbury has now hit safely in his last seven games — and in 12 of the 14 games this season.
Shane Victorino was then hit by a pitch, and Dustin Pedroia singled into right field to load the bases for the hot-hitting Mike Napoli. Napoli connected on a two-run single to get the scoring going. Napoli has now hit safely in six straight games, during which he’s 8 for his last 22.
Daniel Nava added another run with a single into left field that plated Pedroia from second base.
Masterson finally retired an out against Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox third baseman hit a slow roller to short that Asdrubal Cabrera made a nice, barehanded play on.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia then hit a ground ball to first base. Mark Reynolds made the play and fired home in order to nail Napoli, who had been off on contact.
The inning ended with Stephen Drew striking out, but things are certainly off to a good start for Boston. The Red Sox are 8-0 this season when scoring first. The Braves (9-0) and Yankees (5-0) are the only other teams without a loss when scoring first this season.
What’s even more amazing is how ineffective Masterson was in the first. The right-hander entered Wednesday’s game having allowed just one earned run in 22 innings while racking up a 3-0 record.
7:07 p.m.: Justin Masterson’s first pitch of the game is outside for a ball, and we’re under way.
7 p.m.: It’s definitely hard to focus on the minute details of a baseball game in the wake of Monday’s tragedy, but it’s awesome to see everyone rallying around each other. The amount of support the city of Boston is receiving is overwhelming, and the resiliency of the city will undoubtedly shine through.
Boston is as workmanlike as it gets, and we’re already seeing how tight-knit and unified everyone can be in the face of adversity. Keep staying strong, Boston.
Manager John Farrell said that he hopes baseball — and really, sports in general — can help offer “some normalcy” in the wake of Monday’s tragedy. Obviously, sports are so far down the totem pole when it comes to what’s important in life, but they do still play an important role when it comes to community bonding. Hopefully, some baseball action can help provide a boost in morale during this difficult time.
It should be a very memorable night over at TD Garden, where the Bruins are hosting the Buffalo Sabres. The game will be televised on NBC Sports, but you can follow the action with NESN.com’s live blog as well. I’m sure our hockey guy, Mike Cole, will do a great job of painting a picture of the emotional scene.
5:20 p.m.: Mike Carp will get his first start as a member of the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Carp, who enters the game 0-for-3, will play first base and bat ninth against Justin Masterson and the Indians.
With Carp at first base, Mike Napoli will serve as the DH. Jackie Bradley Jr. will once again be out of the lineup, as Daniel Nava will play left field and bat sixth.
Wednesday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (9-4)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, DH
Daniel Nava, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Mike Carp, 1B
Alfredo Aceves, RHP
Michael Brantley, LF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Carlos Santana, C
Nick Swisher, RF
Jason Giambi, DH
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Cord Phelps, 2B
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Drew Stubbs, CF
Justin Masterson, RHP
1 p.m.: The Red Sox did all they could Tuesday night to give Boston a boost after a couple of days that no one wants to remember.
They’ll try to stay “Boston strong” on Wednesday night in their second game against the Indians, knowing that even something as inconsequential at baseball can help heal the region at a time like this.
Alfredo Aceves (0-0, 6.75 ERA) will get the ball for Boston as John Lackey continues to recover from his biceps injury. Aceves went just five innings in his last start, giving up two earned runs on six hits and three walks against the Orioles. He struggled in two relief appearances before that and is still looking to regain the form that made him a shutdown reliever at points throughout the last few seasons.
A familiar face for Red Sox fans will be pitching for Cleveland. Justin Masterson (3-0, 0.41 ERA), who was traded from Boston to Cleveland in 2009, comes in having dominated in his last three starts. He’s only gotten better as the season has gone on — he allowed just one earned run in six innings against the Blue Jays in his first start, went seven innings with no runs allowed against the Rays and pitched a complete game five-hitter, with no runs allowed, last Friday against the White Sox. The right-hander will be quite the test for the Sox.
The action begins at 6 p.m. on NESN, with first pitch at 7:05. Check back here for updates and analysis as the Red Sox look to extend their four-game win streak.