Blunders cost Sox in 5-2 loss to Cleveland
After losing rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks for the remainder of the season with a fractured right wrist Friday night, the Red Sox entered Saturday’s game in need of some good news.
None came, as Boston fell for the fourth time in five games, 5-2, to the Cleveland Indians in front of 27,894 at Progressive Field.
Base running blunders and a big night by former Red Sox utility man Brent Lillibridge ultimately proved too much for the struggling Sox to overcome, as they squandered a solid start by Franklin Morales (3-3).
The lefthander tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits, walking four and striking out six. However, Boston managed just four hits in his defense off Cleveland’s Zach McAllister (5-4), who went a career-best eight innings to record the win.
The 24-year-old struck out four and didn’t walk a batter before handing the ninth over to closer Chris Perez, who recorded his 31st save of the season.
Boston, losing eight of its last 11, now sits at a season-high 12 games behind the New York Yankees for the top spot in the American League East.
Lillibridge, who went 2 for 18 in his brief stint in Boston, put the Indians on the board in the bottom of the third with his first homer of the season. The Sox jumped ahead in the fourth when Adrian Gonzalez narrowly missed a grand slam. His double knocked in Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, however, Pedroia was gunned down at home by a perfect relay throw from Lillibridge.
In the bottom of the fifth Lillibridge struck again with a line drive to center field to tie the game at two. McAllister and Perez shut down the Sox for the remainder of the game, as the Tribe added runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings off Red Sox relievers to pull away.
Dustin Pedroia has caught fire as of late and is now riding a seven-game hitting streak. The second baseman is batting .444 (12 for 27) over that span.
At 12 games behind the New York Yankees, the Red Sox (56-59) have reached their largest deficit all season in the American League East.
– Boston has one more game in Cleveland before getting Monday off. It’ll then head to Baltimore for a four-game set with the Orioles. Once the Red Sox leave Cleveland they won’t face a team with a losing record (Baltimore, New York, Anaheim) until August 24th, when Kansas City comes to town.
– Aaron Cook will start in the place of rookie Felix Doubront on Wednesday, as the Sox look to rest their 24-year-old lefthander for “at least a start.”
– Look for Red Sox DH David Ortiz (strained Achilles) to possibly return to the Boston lineup on Tuesday in Baltimore.