CLEVELAND Franklin Morales wasnt at his best Saturday night against the Cleveland Indians, but just about everyone agreed he pitched well enough to win.
The Sox left-hander struggled with his command while allowing four walks and a hit batsman in 5 13 innings of work. But he also allowed only a pair of hits and three runs, plenty good enough to keep the Sox in a game they eventually lost by a 5-2 score at Progressive Field.
I thought he was really good," said Bobby Valentine. "He threw a ball 3-1 down the middle to Brent Lillibridge for a home run and seemed to lose his control in the last inning. Other than that, he pitched pretty good. He pitched pretty damned good.
In the other games he had really good control of his offspeed stuff. Tonight he wasnt getting his curveball called for strikes and his changeup was just missing. But he pitched well enough to win. There is no doubt about that.
Morales dropped to 3-3 on the season and his sixth-inning performance was what eventually doomed him. He walked a pair of batters one intentionally and one not and hit a batter to load the bases, and was lifted from a 2-2 tied game with one out in the inning. Andrew Miller relieved Morales and allowed a Michael Brantley sacrifice fly to left field that scored Asdrubal Cabrera.
That proved to be the winning run, and that was the inning that Morales was kicking himself about after it was all over.
I tried to throw my curveball for strikes and I missed, said Morales. Sometimes thats the game. You try to avoid mistakes and make your pitches all the way through, but I missed in a few situations. I missed a couple of pitches in the sixth and got behind the count. Sometimes you miss and that happens some times.
I tried to hold my team in there the best I could and the guys tried to keep us in there the best they could in the field. It just wasnt meant for us today.
Instead the Sox lefty -- who has a 2.94 ERA and 57 strikeouts in his last 15 outings, dating back to June 3 -- will go back to the drawing board encouraged by the six strikeouts in 5 13 innings that easily display the kind of dominant stuff hes bringing to the pitchers mound as a starter.