Rapid reaction: Indians 3, Red Sox 1

April, 5, 2011

CLEVELAND -- It's one thing to be swept by the defending American League champions, but to fall to 0-4 against the lowly Tribe?

That's one big expectoration on great expectations.

The Sox lost 3-1, and the stat that will be drummed onto your brainpan is that no team has ever begun a season 0-4 and won a World Series. The Sox put the tying runs on base in the ninth, but David Ortiz, after fouling back a 3-and-0 pitch, lined out to end it.

So-so Beckett: The best thing you can say about Josh Beckett's outing is that he didn't give up as many runs as the three Red Sox starters before him, the Indians scoring three times in his five innings of work. That's fewer than allowed by Jon Lester (5), John Lackey (9) and Clay Buchholz (4). And the Indians didn't launch any balls into the seats Tuesday night, although that might have had something to do with the difference in temperature (42 degrees here at game time, compared to 90, 83 and 79 in the three games in Texas).

Beyond that, the results were mixed at best. Beckett and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia seemed to have trouble getting on the same page early, and the pitch count climbed high quickly, to 59 after three innings and to 106 by the time Beckett departed. Of those 106 pitches, the Indians swung and missed only seven times.

There were some high points: Beckett struck out Asdrubal Cabrera on a terrific changeup in the first, and struck out Shin-Soo Choo on an elevated fastball with two on and two out in the third.

But Travis Hafner's double touched off a two-run rally in the fourth, Orlando Cabrera singling home the tying run, then scoring on Jack Hannahan's ground-ball single up the middle. Beckett retired Michael Brantley on a fly ball with runners on the corners to avoid further trouble, but Cabrera opened the fifth with a double and came around to score on a ground ball and sacrifice fly.

No-show offense: Terry Francona changed his lineup again, returning Carl Crawford to his familiar No. 2 slot and putting Dustin Pedroia in the 3-hole, but the Sox managed just three hits in seven innings off the modestly skilled Josh Tomlin. Pedroia's single to lead off the fourth was the last Sox hit until Pedroia grounded a single through the hole with one out in the ninth off closer Chris Perez.

The Sox mounted a two-out rally to score their only run in the second, on a walk, J.D. Drew's double and a ground-ball single by Saltalamacchia, his first hit of the season. But the late-sliding Drew was cut down at the plate by Choo.

Crawford went hitless in four trips. He also overshot the cutoff man on Orlando Cabrera's fourth-inning single, allowing Cabrera to move up a base. He eventually came around to score the go-ahead run.

Marco Scutaro remains hitless this season, going 0-for-3 to push his season line to 0-for-11. Adrian Gonzalez is hitless in his last nine at-bats after having five hits in his first two games. He hadn't gotten the ball out of the infield until he flied out to left for the second out of the ninth.

'Pen punchouts: Matt Albers (3), Bobby Jenks (3) and Daniel Bard (2) combined for eight whiffs in the last three innings.

Few bear witness: The announced attendance was 9,025.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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