Indians nip Boston Red Sox, on Napoli homer, 7-6

Apr 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

After a brief 12 minute rain delay, Clay Buchholz made his first start since July 10, 2015 tonight, against the Cleveland Indians who sent Carlos Carrasco to the hill. From the outset it was a struggle for Buchholz. In a see-saw battle, the Red Sox lost 7-6.

In the bottom of the first, it took the Indians two batters to get to Buchholz. With one out, Jose Ramirez singled to center. Jason Kipnis followed with a double to plate Ramirez, giving the Indians their first lead of the series. Carlos Santana cleared the bases with a long three run home run to center field. Just like that it was 4-0.

The Red Sox managed to cut in to their early deficit. Travis Shaw led off the inning with a single. Brock Holt followed with a home run to right field to make the score 4-2. The shutdown inning and Buchholz are not good friends. In the second with one out, rookie Tyler Naquin sharply singled to right field. Francisco Lindor hit a hard grounder to first base that maybe a better first baseman could have gotten an out at second, but Ramirez could only get the out at first. That man Jose Ramirez singled to center to score Naquin. Jackie Bradley Jr. appeared to have a shot at throwing him out but his throw was way up the first base line, pushing the deficit to 5-2.

Carrasco cruised through the next two innings. David Ortiz led off the sixth inning. After fouling off a hanger, Big Papi didn’t miss another mistake, hitting a majestic homer to right center field to cut the score to 5-3. Ramirez hit a ball not quite as far, but it still cleared the fence, also in right center, for his first homer of the season, to trim the lead to 5-4. That was the end of Carrasco’s night in favor of lefty Ross Detwiler.

Chris Young pinch hit for the lefty Shaw and lifted a lazy fly into center field that Indians center fielder Naquin misjudged in the wind into a double. Holt and Swihart, looking to move the runner to third, both walked. Bradley, Jr. lofted a deep fly to center field to score Young and send Holt to third. Another heads up play by Holt gave the Red Sox the lead. Mookie Betts grounded a ball to third but not hard enough to turn a double play, Holt waited (like Eric Hosmer did in last year’s World Series) until third baseman Jose Uribe threw the ball to first then scampered home for the Red Sox first lead of the night, 6-5.

Red Sox reliever Noe Ramirez was in line to get his first career win but he could not hold the lead. Yan Gomes walked on a 3-2 pitch. Ex-Red Sox Marlon Byrd flared a ball that landed on the right field foul line to send Gomes to third. Uribe followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Gomes to tie the game at six in the sixth inning.

Mike Napoli untied the game in the seventh inning, with a long home run to left center off Junichi Tazawa who was working in his second straight game. The Red Sox managed one hit in the final two innings. Ortiz’ bid for extra bases was tracked down at the left field wall to end the game and the Red Sox suffered their first loss of the season, 7-6.

Game Notes

  • Xander Bogaerts is 0 for nine with a walk so far in two games.
  • SportsCenter reported that Ortiz is the only hitter besides Ted Williams to homer in his first two games after the age of 40.
  • Red Sox were 0 for five with runners in scoring position
  • Pablo Sandoval lined out in his only plate appearance, leaving Ramirez at third base to end the seventh inning.  Sandoval also played two innings at third base
  • Ramirez stole the team’s first base of the season

D. . Game Ball Clay Buchholz. . STARTING PITCHING

Though Blake Swihart was on the team for two months with Buchholz, he did not catch him at all 2015. Perhaps there is something to the personal catcher concept. Buchholz didn’t have much working for him with Swihart on this damp night. His final line was four innings, five runs on six hits, three walks and four strikeouts. To his credit, Buchholz showed some grit. He appeared to be on the verge of getting pulled when Santana led off with a hustle double to left center to start the third inning. He managed to get out of the inning with no further damage, then retire the side in order in the fourth. After a leadoff walk in the fifth, Manager John Farrell came to pull him. At least he was able to get into the fifth which was an accomplishment after that terrible first inning.

RELIEF PITCHING . C. . Game Ball Matt Barnes .

After the offense gave them the lead in the sixth, the bullpen could not hold the lead. After a stellar job in the fifth inning, Noe Ramirez surrendered the tying run while only getting one out in the inning in the sixth. Tazawa then allowed a long home run by Napoli off a fat pitch to earn the loss. Barnes gets the award for getting five outs late in the game and keeping the score at 7-6

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. Game Ball David Ortiz . . HITTING . C

There were many candidates today. Holt had two hits, including a two run homer. Hanley knocked one out to make the score 5-4. Ortiz gets the award for starting the rally in the sixth with his second homer in two days. While this is a disappointing loss, the offense showed its firepower with another three home runs today