|Closing Time: Indians 6, Red Sox 5||08.02.10 at 10:30 pm ET|
After an emotional weekend of walkoff wins, the Red Sox were unable to carry momentum into the series opener with the Indians. Despite an eighth-inning rally led by Adrian Beltre’s three-run homer, the Sox wound up on the short end of a 6-5 final Monday night.
Fausto Carmona — who entered the game with a career 40.50 ERA in three career starts at Fenway — outpitched John Lackey, giving up just a pair of runs in seven innings to earn his 11th win.
The Red Sox were unable to continue the ninth-inning magic of the weekend, managing just a one-out Marco Scutaro single off of Cleveland closer Chris Perez, who picked up his 13th save.
The teams will meet again Tuesday night, with Josh Beckett (2-1, 6.33 ERA) on the mound for the Red Sox. The Indians have yet to announce their starter.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
- After three consecutive superb starts that saw his ERA shrink from 4.78 to 4.26 (lowest since May 10), John Lackey had his first poor outing of the second half. Lackey allowed six runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings against an Indians team that entered Monday ranked next-to-last in the American League in both batting average (.247) and slugging percentage (.381). Lackey simply could not control the strike zone in the series opener, walking five batters, including Trevor Crowe with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. That would be the final batter Lackey faced in the contest.
Lackey has struggled with his command all season, entering Monday’s start averaging 3.3 walks per nine innings, a total which would represent the worst of his career. He has now walked at least five batters in three of his 22 starts this season. From 2007-09 he walked at least five batters in none of his 84 starts.
- Kevin Youkilis was forced to leave the game after the second inning with a jammed right thumb. Youkilis was seen grimacing in pain while flexing his right hand following his first-inning at-bat against Carmona. That led to Victor Martinez shifting over to first and Kevin Cash replacing Martinez behind the plate. How big a hit did the lineup take? Well, Youkilis entered Monday’s game with an OPS of .978 and 62 RBI. Cash — who took over the No. 3 spot in the batting order following the Youkilis injury — entered the game with an OPS of .380 and zero RBI in 52 plate appearances. Cash failed to get a hit in his two at-bats Monday, dropping his average to .143.
- Before the game Mike Cameron was placed on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to struggle with a lower abdominal tear. Cameron underwent an examination at Mass General on Monday and the decision was made for the veteran center fielder to return to the DL (he was first on the DL from April 19-May 24 with the same injury). If the two weeks of rest and rehabilitation don’t lead to an improvement, it is likely that Cameron will undergo season-ending surgery.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
- Adrian Beltre homered twice and drove in all five runs for the Red Sox. Beltre has now hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. David Ortiz also posted a pair of hits and now has an 11-game hitting streak.
- Another impressive night for Ryan Kalish, who stood out with his arm and bat on Monday. The former high school quarterback’s strong toss to the plate in the second inning held Matt LaPorta at third base. Kalish then threw a dart to home plate in the fourth inning to gun down Shelly Duncan and end that inning. The left fielder also had three hits, including his first career extra-base hit, a double in the seventh.
Unfortunately for Kalish, the evening wasn’t all good news. In that same seventh inning, he was involved in a brutal collision with Indians catcher Carlos Santana, sliding into the left leg of the backstop as Kalish was thrown out at home. Santana — an up-and-coming star and a real bright spot for the Indians this season — was removed from the field in a stretcher. If this turns out to be a serious injury for Santana — which is almost assuredly is — Tim Bogar will have to take a share of the blame. A shaky decision at best to send Kalish home down four runs with just one out. Turned out to be a huge call in a one-run final.
- Clay Buchholz saw his ERA drop from 2.68 to to 2.59 without throwing a pitch on Monday. How? Will Rhymes’ leadoff single in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game was changed to an error on second baseman Jed Lowrie, taking two earned runs away from Buchholz, whose 2.59 ERA still ranks second behind Cliff Lee’s 2.51.
- Tim Wakefield pitched a pair of scoreless innings out of the bullpen on his 44th birthday. The last pitcher to take the hill on his 44th birthday was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, who tossed 7.1 innings for the Mariners in a loss against the Royals on 9/15/82.
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