Red Sox fall to Indians, 7-3

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Red Sox fall to Indians, 7-3

BOSTON It wasnt the dream debut some had hoped it would be for Erik Bedard, but there were some encouraging moments in defeat.

Former Sox sinker specialist Justin Masterson out-pitched Bedard and the Boston bullpen in the former Mariners first appearance with the Sox, and that played out in a 7-3 loss to the Tribe at Fenway Park.

Masterson fanned nine Sox hitters in his six innings of work, and scattered five hits while improving his record to 9-7 in a breakout season in the starting rotation for Cleveland.

But the newly acquired Bedard showed flashes in five innings of work, and finished with seven strikeouts in his evening of mound work. Bostons new southpaw actually exited a 3-3 tie after five innings of solid work, but Sox lefty Franklin Morales got hit hard by the Indians hitters in the decisive sixth inning.

Travis Hafner started things off with a double against Morales, and things simply deteriorated from there.

The big blow was a two-run homer by Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana that proved to be the difference in the game, and was a far cry from the brilliant relief work authored by Morales and Co. earlier in the series. The Indians bullpen managed to shut down the Sox offense the rest of the way and avoid any ninth inning heroics this time around.

The Sox had actually jumped out to an early lead for Bedard in the first inning on the strength of RBI hits by Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz. The Indians touched up Bedard for three runs over the second and third innings, but Josh Reddick tied things up in the fourth inning with his fifth home run of the season lifted into the visiting bullpen.

Erratic lefty Andrew Miller labored through multiple innings of relief to push Clevelands lead up to the final four run advantage.

Player of the Game: Justin Masterson never really wanted to leave Boston when he was dealt to Cleveland two years ago in the Victor Martinez deal, and hes pitched with a little dash of revenge in his heart ever since. Masterson allowed three runs and five hits in six innings of work while striking out nine in the victory, and improved to 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts against the Sox since the V-Mart deal. Hes learned to pitch inside to lefties and vary his fastball, and hes become exactly what the Sox thought he might when he was a talented sinker-balling youngster in Boston.

Honorable Mention: Carlos Santana was 1-for-11 with a boatload of strikeouts in the series, but the talented young catcher finally made up for it on Thursday with a two-run bomb in the sixth inning that won it for Cleveland. The Tribe built the lead against Bostons bullpen, but it was Santanas black magic homer off Franklin Morales that tipped the scales toward Cleveland.

The Goat: Franklin Morales was great in his last appearance against the Indians, but not so much against the Tribe in the series finale. The strong-armed lefty faced three batters and allowed a double and a first-pitch two-run homer to Carlos Santana before getting lifted but the damage had already been done in the loss. Santana had been in a good stretch headed into tonights appearance, but the sixth frame wasnt close to his best work.

Turning Point: Erik Bedard was solid in his five innings of work, and the loss goes squarely on the shoulders of bullpen pitchers Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller for their inability to hold things steady. Morales picked up his first decision of the year yes, it was the loss for his ineffective work in the decisive sixth frame.

By the Numbers: 7 the encouraging number of strikeouts for Erik Bedard in five innings of work during Thursday nights no-decision. .

Quote of Note: Bleepin scorekeeper always bleepin bleep up David Ortiz clearly not happy about the official scorekeeper costing him an RBI in Wednesday nights walk-off win.

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.