for this game

Three-run fifth lifts Indians past Red Sox

Sep 23, 2008 - 4:31 AM By Tony Lee PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- On the first night of autumn with their ace on the mound, the Boston Red Sox were that close to locking up another playoff berth. The problem is, the Cleveland Indians are still playing baseball - and playing well.

Zach Jackson tossed six strong innings and the Red Sox wasted two prime scoring opportunities in the later innings as the Indians ran their season-high winning streak to seven games and kept Boston's probable playoff berth on hold with a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park.

Boston (91-65) entered Monday needing just one win in their final seven games or one loss by the New York Yankees (85-71) before season's end to clinch a playoff berth for the fifth time in six years.

But star right hander Josh Beckett (12-10) did not deliver, giving up four runs in six difficult frames, and the Cleveland bullpen held firm to keep the Red Sox's champagne toasts on ice for one more night. Boston fell 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay (93-62) in the American League East Division.

"I'm just out there trying to get outs," Beckett said when asked if he was anticipating a possible clinch. "I'm not really worried about that right now. We're just trying to win games."

Jackson (1-3) worked around six hits and four walks in his first win since 2006 with Milwaukee. He left with a 4-2 lead in large part to a wild sequence in the sixth that killed a Red Sox rally.

Boston put runners on first and second with two outs in the frame. Rookie first baseman Jeff Bailey ripped a shot down the left-field line that was fair as it went past the bag but struck third base umpire Gerry Davis.

As the ball caromed into shallow left, Jason Bay - who had rounded third - held up and looked to retreat to third, not knowing where the ball had gone.

However, Jason Varitek had already passed second and was nearly at third by the time Bay went back to the bag. Bay was stuck, quickly caught in a run-down and tagged for the final out as Varitek stood on third.

"I was running on the pitch. I was looking right at (Davis) when it hit him," Bay said of the play. "I wasn't sure how far it bounced from (Indians third baseman) Jamey Carroll and I didn't want to run into an out at the plate, and that's why I stopped."

Bay said he had watched replays and feels he made the right decision to turn back. But Varitek's presence there turned the play into a disaster.

"I saw it hit the umpire and I saw there was nobody at third so I went to third," Varitek said. "I saw Bay right as I got to third. It was just one of those freak plays."

The rest of the Red Sox's wasted opportunities came in more conventional form.

Boston cut the deficit in half on Kevin Youkilis' second RBI double of the game in the seventh and then loaded the bases with one out. But Rafael Betancourt fanned rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie on a 3-2 pitch and got Mark Kotsay to fly to left to end the threat.

With speedster Coco Crisp on first in the eighth, Betancourt got rookie Jacoby Ellsbury to hit into an inning-ending double play.

"The job Betancourt did was over and above," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

In the ninth, Jensen Lewis struck out Dustin Pedroia and got David Ortiz to fly to right, but again the Red Sox would threaten. Youkilis lined a single to right for his third hit before Bay doubled off the "Green Monster" to put runners on second and third.

Lowrie came up with a chance at redemption, but struck out swinging to end it.

Boston manager Terry Francona was quick to defend his young shortstop.

"He hit a couple of balls well," he said of Lowrie. "He came up in some big situations and ran the count full. Then Betancourt threw a ball right on the corner and he took it. I think he's handled himself pretty well."

The Red Sox left 12 runners on.

"It was that way from about the sixth inning with the umpire-ball debacle and the seventh and the eighth," Bay said of the scoring chances. "We had guys on in every inning. Every inning it looked like it was gonna be it. ? We want so much to be able to finish this off in front of everyone, but we've got to get it done first."

Ravaged by injuries early in the season and out of the race for several months, Cleveland (79-77) moved two games above .500 for the first time since May 16. The Indians are 42-24 since July 10 and throw 22-game winner Cliff Lee on Tuesday in an effort to keep Boston's celebration on hold.

"We've been keeping the focus on ourselves and what we need to do, and that's play good hard baseball, and we've been doing that for a while now," Wedge said.

Beckett allowed seven hits, walked one and hit three batters in a game for the first time in his career. Two of those came in the second when he loaded the bases and walked in a run to spot the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Youkilis tied it for Boston in the third, but Beckett ran into more trouble in the fifth.

Asdrubal Cabrera singled to open the frame, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Carroll's base hit up the middle. Carroll advanced on a wild pitch, allowing him to come in when Shin-Soo Choo knocked a hard single to center to make it 3-1.

Choo moved to third on Jhonny Peralta's double and scored when Travis Hafner grounded to first to put the Indians ahead, 4-1. Beckett hit the next batter before finally escaping.

After the game he dwelled on the wildness in the second.

"Hit two guys after you get two outs, then you walk in a run, that ends up being the difference in the game," said Beckett, who is 1-4 with a 6.45 ERA in his career against Cleveland.

Ortiz pulled the hosts within 4-2 with his 23rd home run in the bottom of the fifth.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 4 8 0
    BOSTON 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 3 12 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - ZACH JACKSON, RAFAEL PEREZ (7TH), RAFAEL BETANCOURT (7TH),
    JENSEN LEWIS (9TH) AND KELLY SHOPPACH
    BOS - JOSH BECKETT, JAVIER LOPEZ (7TH), JUSTIN
    MASTERSON (7T

    Sep 22 10:14 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED JACOBY ELLSBURY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K YOUKILIS ON SECOND, D ORTIZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J BAY (.301, 1-FOR-3)

    Indians 4, Red Sox 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 22 9:31 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Indians 4, Red Sox 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 22 9:31 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAVID ORTIZ (23) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 5TH OFF ZACH JACKSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4, BOSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.310, 1-FOR-1, BB, RBI)

    Indians 4, Red Sox 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 22 8:46 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 44 roots

    Indians 4, Red Sox 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 22 8:40 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY TRAVIS HAFNER SCORED SHIN-SOO CHOO.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J PERALTA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4
    BOSTON 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: B FRANCISCO (.272, 2-FOR-2)

    Indians 4, Red Sox 1  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 22 8:37 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY SHIN-SOO CHOO SCORED JAMEY CARROLL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, S CHOO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 3
    BOSTON 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J PERALTA (.270, 0-FOR-2)

    Indians 3, Red Sox 1  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 22 8:32 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAMEY CARROLL SCORED ASDRUBAL CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CARROLL ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2
    BOSTON 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: S CHOO (.307, 0-FOR-2)

    Indians 2, Red Sox 1  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 22 8:30 PM
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    Indians 1, Red Sox 1  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 22 8:26 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED JACOBY ELLSBURY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K YOUKILIS ON SECOND, D ORTIZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J BAY (.298, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians 1, Red Sox 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 22 8:03 PM
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    Indians 1, Red Sox 0  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 22 8:00 PM
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    Indians vs. Red SoxSep 21 5:35 PM
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