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Closing Time: Eighth-inning rally leads Red Sox to win over Indians

05.25.13 at 5:03 pm ET
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Jon Lester allowed four runs over seven innings Saturday. (AP)

A couple of unlikely heroes Red Sox kept their team in the game Saturday, and then one likely savior finished things off.

Dustin Pedroia’s two-out double in the eighth inning scored Mike Carp with the eventual game-winning run, handing the Red Sox’ a 7-4 win over the Indians at Fenway Park.

The Pedroia heroics were made possible after Pedro Ciriaco rifled his own double, with one out, off the left field wall earlier in the inning. After a Jacoby Ellsbury strikeout, Mike Carp (pinch-hitting for Jonny Gomes) doubled home Ciriaco with the game-tying score.

For Carp, it was the second straight game he had supplied a key hit, having put the Sox ahead for good Friday night with a three-run blast against Justin Masterson. He is now 6-for-12 against the Indians this season.

“Just looking for a pitch I can put a good swing on,” said Carp, who is now 3-for-10 this year as a pinch-hitter. “I had a runner on second base and left one over the plate and put a good swing and got it off the wall.”

Ciriaco joined Jose Iglesias with a potent one-two punch at the bottom of the lineup, with each players coming away with three-hit performances.

The Sox were able to add two more insurance runs later in the eighth when Daniel Nava’s routine bases-loaded, pop-up to shallow left field fell between three Cleveland fielders. All of the eighth-inning runs came against Indians reliever Vinny Pestano.

“We bunched some hits together,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “[Ciriaco] gets the one-out double and can’t say enough about the day both he and [Iglesias] had in the eight and nine-hole. They made some huge contributions today offensively. Then we started to just chip away. Obviously, [Pedroia] with the 0-2 double was seemingly the big blow, and then we caught a break with the wind-blown base hit off Nava’s bat. Once again, Mike Carp steps up in a key spot. He gets a first-pitch fastball for a double the other way and the go-ahead run. Just a very good, come-from-behind team win today.”

The heroics took Red Sox starter Jon Lester off the hook for what would have been his second loss of the season. The lefty rebounded from a rocky start to turn in a solid performance, allowing four runs on 10 hits, striking out eight and walking one. He threw a season-high 124 pitches, the second-most by any Red Sox pitcher this season.

Between Lester, and relievers Junchi Tazawa and Andrew Bailey, Red Sox pitchers fanned 11 batters and have now struck out 10 or more in a game 25 times in 2013, the most double-digit strikeout games in major league history through a team’s first 50 games.

Lester almost left the game with a tie, but with runners on second and third, Mark Reynolds up and two outs in the seventh, the pitcher unloaded a wild pitch on a 1-2 count to allow the Indians to take their last lead.

“It didn’t even make it to the plate,” said Lester of the wild-pitch. “I didn’t even give Ross a chance to block it. On the same page as him, just trying to bury a curve ball, kind of like his two previous at-bats, I yanked one down and in. for me and right there I was just thinking don’t miss over the plate and give him a chance. I wanted to be down with it. It just ended up being too far down.”

Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Ciriaco – who was playing third base with Stephen Drew getting the day off – notched his first hit since May 12 (and third for the month) in the second inning. The hit plated Iglesias, who had reached via an infield single (his sixth in eight games).

- Jonny Gomes kept the Red Sox within a run in the third, scooping up a Nick Swisher single and firing home in time to nail Asdrubal Cabrera attempting to score. Helping the Sox’ cause was a nice block of home plate by catcher David Ross.

“It was just a base hit. I knew Jonny fielded it cleanly. I knew we were going to have a close play if he got rid of it good. He did,” Ross said. “The one thing I was worried about was the grass and the wet field. It skipped quick, but skipped right up to me and I was able to put the tag on him.”

- Pedroia continued his ownership of Indians’ starter Scott Kazmir. The second baseman, who came into the game hitting .515 (17-for-33) against the lefty, notched a third-inning double. It gave Pedroia hits in 16 of his last 17 games, while still serving as the only Red Sox player to play in every game this season.

- Iglesias’ second hit of the game cleared the infield, skipping down the first-base line and into right field. The one-out double in the fourth allowed Daniel Nava to come in from first after right fielder Ryan Raburn fumbled the ball after it jutted out off the wall. The hit cut the Indians’ lead to a run.

- Lester and the Red Sox supplied the game’s first 1-2-3 inning. Of course, it didn’t come until the lefty struck out the side in the sixth inning.

- Jonny Gomes excelled once again in a situational hitting situation, launching a sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. The fly ball, which tied the game at 3-3, came immediately after the Indians chose to intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury.

- The Red Sox were able to drive Kazmir from the game after five innings, forcing the lefty’s pitch count up to 107 pitches.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- After getting the first two outs of the first inning, Lester surrendered a single just past Pedroia from Asdrubal Cabrera and then an RBI hit from Nick Swisher down the third-base line for the game’s first score. It was the second straight appearance Lester had surrendered a pair of hits in the first, after having allowed a total of four base-hits in his initial nine starts.

- Cabrera struck again in the third inning, doubling off the top of the scoreboard on the left field wall to score Drew Stubbs.

- Pedro Ciriaco continued his shoddy play at third base, this time allowing a simple, soft-toss throw into third by center fielder Ellsbury to slide through his legs, allowing Mark Reynolds to advance to 90 feet from home. The miscue came on the same play in which the Indians built a two-run lead via Carlos Santana’s two-out, RBI single.

- Ross suffered a five-strikeout afternoon in his first game back from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

“I felt good. No head issues,” Ross said. “I was able to work through the game. No dizziness, nothing like that. Nothing out of the ordinary, other than swinging and missing. We’ve got to figure out a way to fix that.”

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