Red Sox find a way to lose to Tribe, 8-4

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Red Sox find a way to lose to Tribe, 8-4

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEVELAND -- Just when it seemed like the Red Sox had run out of ways to lose games in the first week, they found some more Wednesday night.

After falling victim to poor starting pitching and an anemic offense in the first four contests, the Red Sox combined poor relief work and a mental lapse to lose 8-4 to the Cleveland Indians, dropping them to 0-5. With a loss in the road trip finale Thursday afternoon, they can return for their home opener with their worst start to a season since 1945.

The Sox trailed 3-2 in the sixth when it all fell apart for them. Dennys Reyes faced three hitters and put all three on base -- two by hit batsman and another by walk. With the bases loaded, Kevin Youkilis couldn't glove a liner by Michael Brantley. Youkilis stepped on third for one force out, but when he threw to the plate, catcher Jason Varitek failed to tag Travis Buck, instead stepping on the plate.

Asdrubal Cabrera then drove a three-run homer into the seats in right off Dan Wheeler, capping a four-run inning.

The Sox stitched together two runs in the second on an infield chopper by Marco Scutaro and an RBI groundout by Jacoby Ellsbury. Adrian Gonzalez added a two-run homer, his first homer as a member of the Red Sox, in the seventh.

Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three runs in five innings, needing 96 pitches to record 15 outs. The Sox have yet to get a quality start after one full turn through their rotation.

STAR OF THE GAME: Asdrubal Cabrera
The Cleveland second baseman delivered the crushing blow, a three-run homer off Dan Wheeler in the four-run sixth that put the game effectively out of reach.

Both Wheeler and Jason Varitek maintained that Wheeler's pitch -- a two-seamer down and in -- was where the Sox wanted it to be and credited Cabrera with a good at-bat.

Cabrera also chipped in with a run-scoring single in the second to account for the third Cleveland run of the night.

HONORABLE MENTION: Shin-Soo Choo
Choo, the Indians' best player, snapped an 0-for-13 hitless streak with a two-run homer in the first off Daisuke Matsuzaka. It was Choo's first homer of the season and gave the Indians their first lead of the night.

GOAT: Dennys Reyes
There were plenty of culprits contributing to the Red Sox' fifth straight setback, but Reyes was perhaps the most obvious.

Brought in to pitch the bottom of the sixth with the Sox trailing 3-2, the plan was for Reyes to face "six or seven'' guys and get the Sox through the seventh inning.

Instead, Reyes couldn't find the strike zone with a GPS. He threw 12 pitches, 11 of them for balls and failed to get out a single hitter. He hit the first two Indians he faced, leaving the bases loaded for Wheeler.

TURNING POINT
With the bases loaded and no out in the sixth, Michael Brantley lined to Kevin Youkilis at third. Youkilis, torn between trying to catch the ball and letting it drop so as to start a double play, reached for the liner, only to have it drop out of his glove.

He stepped on third to force out Matt LaPorta, but that took the force out at home. Youkilis threw to the plate where Jason Varitek needed to tag oncmoing runner Travis Buck. But because Varitek didn't see Youkilis step on the bag, he simply stood at home as he received the throw, not realizing he needed to tag Buck.

With Buck safe, the inning unraveled further when Cabrera launched his three-run shot to right.

BY THE NUMBERS
The Red Sox were a woeful 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, stranding seven -- including runners at third base three times in the span of four innings.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"This game will humble you in a hurry and it's doing that to us right now...Sometimes winning's not easy. Sometimes you're on a roll and everything's going your way. But when it's not, we've got to find a way to win a game.'' -- Terry Francona

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

BOSTON — For most of Friday night’s game, the Boston Celtics played the kind of game that on most nights would result in a victory. 

But Toronto is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with talent, depth and an undeniable desire to win at all costs. 

One strong quarter by the Raptors was just enough to put away the Celtics, 101-94. 

And it came in the third when Toronto outscored Boston 33-18 which turned out to be the only quarter the Raptors (16-7) outscored the Celtics. 

“They got hot; made some tough shots,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The tough shots kind of hurt us.”

The tough shots and a flawless 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line. 

While it’s a 48-minute game, there was no getting around the fact that it was Toronto’s dominance in the third that ultimately determined the game’s outcome. 

“If you look at it from our perspective it’s what went wrong; if you look at it from theirs, they ratcheted up the defense quite a bit (in the third quarter),” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “It was hard for us to break their … break their wall of defense.”

In the third quarter, Boston shot just 27.8 percent from the field, 30 percent (3-for-10) on 3’s and a woeful 5-for-10 from the free throw line. 

“We started making everything difficult for them and not letting them get that easy in and try to take advantage of that,” said Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Kyle Lowry

The Celtics had no answer for the All-Star point guard who led all players with 34 points, 21 of which came in the second half. 

Avery Bradley

Bradley was the lone Celtics starter who seemed to be in a good shooting flow, tallying 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included five made 3’s. 

DeMar DeRozan

The Celtics made him work a lot harder than he usually does to score, but he still managed to tally 24 points – just four points below his season average – on 9-for-25 shooting.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

He made a few more turnovers than usual, but Horford still put together a relatively balanced performance. He had 19 points and seven rebounds with six assists and a blocked shot. 

Norman Powell

The X-factor in Friday’s outcome had to be Powell. A 5.8 points per game scorer this season, Powell had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with a game-high five steals. 

 

DUDS

Jae Crowder

With Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, the Celtics really needed its core starters to step up and have a productive night offensively. Crowder just didn’t have it going on Friday, scoring just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting which included a number of 3s that rimmed in and out on him.