The Red Sox enjoyed one of their stranger victories of the year Saturday, defeating the Indians 7-4 on the back of production from some of the least expected sources.
From the beginning it was clear that, no matter where it came from, the Sox were going to need some runs, even with Jon Lester on the mound. While he wasn't the wreck we saw in Chicago, Lester would struggle early on, with Asdrubal Cabrera hitting a two-out single, stealing second, and then scoring on Nick Swisher's double to make it 1-0.
The Sox would get that run right back in the bottom of the inning, with the unusual combo of Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco getting to Scott Kazmir. Iglesias didn't even get the ball past the pitcher, but managed to make it to first base with an infield single before advancing to second on a balk. Ciriaco's hit was a more convincing line drive, bringing Iglesias around to make it 1-1.
Lester, however, was not content to hold the tie, wasting the left side of the infield's good work in the third, first walking Drew Stubbs, and then after getting a ground ball out from Mike Aviles, allowing the next four Cleveland batters to reach base. A strong throw home from Jonny Gomes that caught Asrdrubal Cabrera at the plate likely saved more than just that one run in what would evenetually wind up a two-run inning.
The 3-1 scoreline would only hold until the bottom of the fourth, when again it was Jose Iglesias providing the offense. This time the shortstop was the one driving the run in, however, doubling past Ryan Raburn at first to bring home Daniel Nava and bring the Sox within a run. Just two innings later, Iglesias scored the tying run on a Jonny Gomes sacrifice fly having advanced to third on a bunt single from Ciriaco. Through the first six innings, Iglesias and Ciriaco had combined for four singles, a double, two runs batted in, and two runs.
That would still not prove enough to get the job done. While Jon Lester had looked much better in innings four-through-six, John Farrell left him in the game after giving up two baserunners in the seventh despite a pitch count already approaching 120, and while he came very close to escaping the inning, a spiked curveball bounced well away from David Ross, allowing Mike Aviles to put the Indians on top 4-3.
That just meant the Red Sox needed to get back to work, and they did just that in the eighth. While Jose Iglesias would make his first out of the game, Pedro Ciriaco doubled to get the Red Sox a baserunner, and Mike Carp, pinch-hitting for Jonny Gomes, cashed in on the opportunity, doubling off the monster to knot the game up at 4-4. Not content with the tie, Dustin Pedroia followed suit with a wall ball double of his own to knock Carp in. After a pair of walks to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli (the first intentional, the second not), Asdrubal Cabrera lost a Daniel Nava pop-up in the sky, allowing two more runs to come in and giving Andrew Bailey a comfortable 7-4 lead to hold in the ninth. Boston's closer allowed only a single, and the Red Sox won.
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