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.