Conventional strategy in baseball is usually for the batters to grind out at-bats, wear down the starting pitcher and figure out what their approach is by the second or third time around in the order. That was simply not the case Tuesday night for Jake Peavy, who was coming off a strong outing in his last start against the Braves. Peavy gave up five singles to the first five batters he faced, leading to three quick runs for the Indians. Jake then settled in and was able to shut down the Cleveland lineup for the following five innings, not allowing a base runner over a stretch of fourteen batters in a row.
The Red Sox could not get much going early against T.J. House (5.2 IP, 6 H, 2R, 2BB, 4K and a no decision to remain 0-1), but Xander Bogaerts put them on the board in the third inning with a solo home run, his fifth on the year. With Marc Rzepczynski now in relief, the Sox continued to scrap. In the sixth inning, after Jonny Gomes walked and Jackie Bradley was hit by a pitch, Jonathan Herrera of all people was able to knock in Gomes with a single to put the Sox within a run.
The seventh inning looked to be the turning point for the Sox, and it actually was, but not in the way Sox fans wanted it to be. In the top half, with Scott Atchison on the mound, Xander Bogaerts rocked his second hit of the night – his 16th double on the season. Dustin Pedroia then clobbered a double of his own to tie the game at three. Ortiz was then intentionally walked for the 14th time this season. This would prove to be great strategy as Gomes then popped out, and Nick Hagadone came on in relief to get AJ Pierzynski and Alex Hassan to strike out. Hassan came up four times on the night and went down by way of the K all four times.
In the bottom half, Jake Peavy wavered just enough for the Indians to pounce. He walked David Murphy, gave up a single to catcher Yan Gomes and was able to get an out on a fielders’ choice at third when Mike Aviles attempted a sacrifice bunt. Andrew Miller came on in relief and let up a towering double from Michael Bourn over Jonny Gomes’ head, who was playing extra shallow for some reason. This drove in Yan Gomes and Aviles and effectively ended the Red Sox comeback, giving Cleveland the 5-3 victory.
Peavy has been inconsistent in four of his last five starts, and the loss Tuesday night drops him to 1-3 with an ERA of 4.72. His final line on the night was 6.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3K. While the two go-ahead runs in the seventh inning were charged to Peavy, Andrew Miller failed to get the job done again in a big spot. One has to wonder what John Farrell was thinking as Bourn has been on a hot streak as of late and history shows he has Miller’s number. For the Indians, Nick Hagadone would eventually be named the winning pitcher on the night for his first W this year.
The Red Sox will look to salvage the final game of the series in Cleveland Wednesday night when Brandon Workman takes the mound after appealing his suspension for throwing behind Evan Longoria last Friday. He’ll go up against Corey Kluber (6-3, 3.04). The Sox have now dropped two in a row after winning seven straight and are four games below .500 yet again.