Red Sox - 020 000 200 - 4 7 0 Spiders - 210 004 01x - 8 8 0The Red Sox squandered several scoring chances in the early innings, and poor pitching and a mental error led to a four-run sixth as Cleveland broke the game open. Boston dropped to 0-5 for only the sixth time in team history (1905, 1927, 1945, 1966, 1996).
After Matsuzaka (5-6-3-3-2, 96) departed, Dennys Reyes hit two batters and walked another, leaving a bases-loaded, no-out mess for Dan Wheeler. Michael Brantley stung a liner to third that Kevin Youkilis dropped. Yook recovered, stepped on third to force Matt LaPorta, and threw home. Jason Varitek caught the ball and stepped on the plate, thinking he was forcing out Travis Buck. But Yook's play at third meant that Varitek had to tag Buck -- and he did not -- and so Buck crossed the plate, giving Cleveland a 4-2 lead. Four pitches later, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run dong, and it was 7-2.
Adrian Gonzalez's two-run homer to right closed the gap to 7-4 in the seventh, but no Boston batter reached base after that.
The Red Sox's missed opportunities began in the first inning. Carl Crawford singled with one out and stole second, but Talbot fanned Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez. In the second, the Red Sox led 1-0 and had the bases loaded with one out. Jacoby Ellsbury's grounder to first scored a second run before Crawford lined out to third.
In the third, Pedroia was hit by a pitch and took third on Gonzalez's double off the left field wall. Second and third, and no one out, but Youkilis was called out on strikes, David Ortiz popped to shortstop, and J.D. Drew was caught looking on a nasty curve.
In the fifth, Crawford walked and stole his second base of the night. With one out, and Crawford now on third, Gonzalez walked. Cleveland manager Manny Acta, with his team holding a 3-2 lead, went to his pen. Chad Durbin struck out Youkilis on three pitches and lefty Rafael Perez retired Ortiz on a weak grounder to first. The fifth inning may have been a little early to micro-manage a one-run game, but Acta saw the spark of a Boston rally and (figuring the visitors were likely to cash in at some point) moved aggressively to snuff it out.
Red Sox hitters struck out 11 times, with Ellsbury fanning three times, and Drew, Ortiz, and Marco Scutaro going down twice.
Daisuke Matsuzaka / Mitch Talbot