Rapid reaction: Indians 7, Red Sox 3

August, 4, 2011

BOSTON -- Pitcher Erik Bedard, the newest member of the Red Sox, jogged out to the mound, picked up the baseball and began his warm-up in preparation for his first start in a Boston uniform.

As the Cleveland Indians, who eventually beat Boston 7-3 Thursday night at Fenway Park, watched the Sox starter throw, U2’s “In God’s Country” blared over the sound system.

It was a fitting song from a baseball standpoint, since Bedard spent the first five seasons of his big-league career with the Baltimore Orioles and the past two-and-half seasons with the Seattle Mariners before Boston acquired the left-hander in a trade last Sunday.

In a flash, he went from last place to first place.

The Sox acquired Bedard to replace Clay Buchholz, who is on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his back and could miss the remainder of the season.

So the pressure is on Bedard to perform.

Because of his recent stint on the DL with a knee injury, his first start with the Red Sox was similar to a minor league rehab outing. He did as well as anyone could have expected, working five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

When he exited after the fifth, the game was knotted at 3, but Boston’s usually reliable bullpen let it slip away. Reliever Franklin Morales allowed two runs in the sixth before Andrew Miller surrendered one in the seventh as Cleveland gained a 6-3 advantage. Boston could not respond.

EXTENDED: With his RBI-double in the bottom of the first inning, Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez extended his current hitting streak to 14 games. He finished the night 1-for-4 and is now hitting .491 (28-for-57) during this stretch.

ME HOMBRE: Forget for a moment that Gonzalez is crushing the ball and completely dominating opposing pitchers, because what he did following his double in the first inning proved he’ll do anything for a teammate.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Red Sox DH David Ortiz made it clear he was upset with a scoring decision from the night before, which he believes cost him an RBI. In the bottom of the first inning Wednesday, Ortiz lined a shot to left-center field, scoring Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis. Ortiz was credited with only one RBI on the play because the scorer indicated that Youkilis scored on a fielding error by Indians left fielder Austin Kearns.

Ortiz was so upset on Thursday that he interrupted manager Terry Francona’s pregame press conference. The Red Sox have appealed the play with Major League Baseball.

Fast forward to the bottom of the first inning on Thursday. Gonzalez stood on second with two outs when Ortiz stepped into the batter’s box and drilled a hard liner to right field for a base hit. As soon as the ball made contact with the bat, Gonzalez was off and running. He completely blew off a stop sign by Sox third-base coach Tim Bogar and scored, giving Ortiz an unlikely RBI.

As Gonzalez jogged into the dugout he was looking at Ortiz, who was standing on first.

IF YOU BUILD IT: The Red Sox set a new post-World War II attendance record Thursday night with 38,477 fans in the seats at Fenway Park. The previous mark was 38,422 on June 21, 2011 against the San Diego Padres.

UP NEXT: The New York Yankees are coming to town for a three-game set. Boston will send left-hander Jon Lester (11-4, 3.17 ERA) to the mound against New York righty Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.30). Lester is 2-0 against the Yankees this season. He’s allowed seven earned runs in 12 innings of work in two starts. He also has a career 8-1 record against New York with a 3.56 ERA in 14 starts.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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