Despite a pitching matchup that promised fireworks, an impressively bad display from both teams with men on base left the Red Sox on the wrong side of a 3-2 game that might best be described as a "whimper".
Everything looked good for Boston in the first inning. Jake Peavy retired the Indians 1-2-3, and David Ortiz doubled home Xander Bogaerts after the latter singled, putting the Red Sox ahead 1-0. After a couple of relatively easy victories in games one and two, Red Sox fans were almost getting used to not spending every inning on the edge.
The rest of the game, unfortunately, provided quite the refresher for that feeling. Jake Peavy would spend the second, third, and fourth in constant danger, allowing runners to reach scoring position before the second out was recorded each time. In the second and fourth, he managed to Houdini his way to the third out, but an Asdrubal Cabrera double scored Michael Bourn in the third, even if Cabrera was thrown out trying to take third on the throw.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, produced at least one baserunner against T.J. House in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings, but each time failed to push that second run across. It wasn't until the sixth that they actually managed to convert, with Dustin Pedroia producing a leadoff double and then scoring on a ground out from Jonny Gomes to retake the lead at 2-1.
Jake Peavy, for his six innings, had been in constant danger, but managed to avoid actual damage time and again to keep the Red Sox in good position. But when Craig Breslow came in for the seventh and promptly allowed the first two batters to reach with well-hit singles, there was no easy escape. He was not entirely to blame for that, however. A weak ground ball to Dustin Pedroia gave the Red Sox a chance for an out at home, but A.J. Pierzynski quite literally dropped the ball in the process of applying the tag, turning an out into a run.
With two outs following, the Red Sox should have been out of the inning. Instead, Breslow faced one more batter, walking David Murphy, and Junichi Tazawa was brought into a bases loaded situation. Clearly lacking his usual feel, Tazawa walked Carlos Santana to bring in the go-ahead run, leaving the Red Sox with just nine outs to recover from a 3-2 deficit.
Friday night, one run was no daunting task, but Saturday it was back to business as usual for the Red Sox. The seventh saw a two-out double from Brock Holt go by the wayside, and the eighth it was a leadoff walk from Dustin Pedroia erased when David Ortiz grounded into a double play. The ninth? Not even a baserunner, leaving the Red Sox back in the loss column.