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Unfriendly Confines: Four Cleveland Homers Leave Red Sox Losers, 9-6

The Red Sox started off August with a loss, saying goodbye to a scoreless streak in the process.

There are some obvious key moments here which you could point to as when the Sox lost the game. There was John Lackey's sixth inning, where he gave up two homers and three runs to the Indians, giving them a 5-3 lead at the time. To be sure, John Lackey wasn't as good tonight as he had been in his last few starts, though he did maintain his terrific K:BB figures. He gave up some bad pitches, and was burned for it with a pair of costly homers, but he left the mound to a reasonable smattering of cheers that were not entirely undeserved. This didn't look so much like Bad Lackey as it did like Bad Beckett, and there's something to be said for that.

The other obvious place to look is Daniel Bard and the eighth. Bard allowed a two-run shot to Asdrubal Cabrera (which had to be reviewed after bouncing off a fan's knee and back into play), recording just one out in the process. Coincidentally enough, it was Cabrera who drove in the last run to score off of Bard on May 23rd, over two months ago.

Of course, Bard is allowed the leeway of one bad inning in 26, so this is just one of those things that you have to swallow.

What will likely be overlooked in the end by many is the third-inning baserunning gaffe by Kevin Youkilis. With Gonzalez at first, Youkilis tripled off the wall in deep center, and then tried to come home on an errant throw despite not having a single out in the inning. He was caught at the plate, and when Carl Crawford went deep later on, it was only worth the one run. The Sox lost by more, of course, and especially with Matt Albers and Daniel Bard each giving up runs, it's hard to envision that being the difference, but it was a really awful decision which isn't typical of a guy like Youkilis.

As mentioned earlier, Crawford had a good night, going deep in the third and adding a wall-ball double in the sixth. Another member of the Sox that must be mentioned is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. From gunning down Fukudome at second, to starting off the second-inning run-scoring rally, to launching a two-run shot despite breaking his bat in the sixth to tie the game, Salty was in top, top form.

It's a tough way to start the month. We lose a little hope for Lackey, see Ortiz slumping, and see the two most consistent members of the bullpen get knocked around a bit. But it's just one game, and Beckett's going tomorrow.

So there's that.