By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that entering the sixth inning, with Erik Bedard out of the game, and left-handed reliever Franklin Morales coming in to face the big lefty Travis Hafner, the team was feeling pretty good.
That feeling didnt last long, as Hafner scorched a double off the top of the wall in deep center field. On the very next pitch, Carlos Santana blasted a go-ahead two-run home run over the center-field wall to give the Cleveland Indians a 5-3 lead which they never lost in their 7-3 win over the Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park.
Morales picked up his first loss of the season while recording only one out, but after Alfredo Aceves got two outs in the sixth to end the inning, the Red Sox were able to use Andrew Miller for 2.2 innings.
Those 2.2 innings werent great innings by any means, as Miller allowed two more runs. But if Boston takes anything positive out of its bullpen experience on Thursday night, its that Millers 71 pitches saved the rest of the arms for the weekend series against New York.
A lot of pitches, said Francona on Millers relief appearance. The one good thing is that he kept our bullpen in order. We didnt use Aceves very much. We didnt go to Albers, we didnt go to Pap, we didnt go to Bard. So we go into the weekend against New York kind of caught up.
Its trying to pound the strike zone with his stuff. When he does that consistently, theres a lot to like about him.
Jacoby Ellsbury was the only Red Sox player to have a multi-hit night on Thursday. He finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a run scored. Ellsbury has now reached base safely in each of his last 17 games.
Speaking of streaks, Adrian Gonzalez extended his season-high hit streak to 14 games, going 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
Meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia snapped his 25-game Fenway park hit streak with an 0-for-4 night.
He said after the game that it had nothing to do with the apparent shoulder injury he suffered in the third inning, as Jason Kipnis went in on him hard at second base to break up a double play.
Pedroia was slow to get up, forcing Francona to run out. But Pedroia stayed in the game, and afterwards said, Ya Im alright. I just landed on my shoulder. Im alright.
Thursday nights paid attendance of 38,477 was the largest at Fenway Park in the post-World War II era.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.