BOSTON -- After having his previous start cut short by the flu, David Price nearly had another start curtailed -- this time by rain.
Price had just completed his second scoreless frame against the Indians when Tuesday’s game was halted due to rain, which had been falling at Fenway Park for most of the day. Prior to the stoppage, Price appeared fully recovered from the flu-like symptoms that forced him from Saturday’s start in Houston after just 15 pitches in the first, as he retired six of the first seven batters he faced.
“I felt pretty good, commanded the ball on both sides of the plate well,” Price said. “I made pitches in big spots, so that was key.”
The veteran southpaw picked up where he left off when play resumed after a delay of one hour and nine minutes, blanking the Tribe through six and finishing with six strikeouts. Price allowed just four baserunners, throwing 63 of his 96 pitches for strikes and lowering his ERA to a season-best 2.83 in the process.
Boston manager Alex Cora was happy with what he saw from Price, especially given the soggy weather conditions that nearly caused the lefty to slip off the mound prior to the delay.
“His command was good, velocity was great. Just another good one for him," Cora said. "When you look at the numbers, he’s having a great season.”
Indians starter Zach Plesac, making his MLB debut, traded zeroes with Price before the Red Sox finally got to him in the sixth, when they broke through for one run against Plesac and two off A.J. Cole -- the last two scoring on a costly error by second baseman Mike Freeman that would’ve been the inning-ending out.
With Price out of the game, Cleveland was able to rally against Boston’s bullpen in the eighth, cutting the deficit to 3-2 on Francisco Lindor's two-run double off Marcus Walden. Matt Barnes continued to show why he’s Cora’s most trusted reliever in high-leverage situations, stranding runners at first and second to end the threat. The Red Sox swiftly responded in their half of the eighth, tacking on a pair of insurance runs with a Michael Chavis RBI single and an RBI double from Steve Pearce.
“There’s really no excuse right there,” Brasier said. “Three-run lead, should be in and out, but I made a couple bad pitches and they made me pay for it.”
Brasier’s replacement, Travis Lakins, didn’t fare much better, loading the bases before surrendering a two-run double to right that gave the Indians their first lead of the night. Lakins escaped without any additional runs, but the damage was done. The Red Sox brought the winning run to the plate in J.D. Martinez in the bottom of the frame, but Cleveland closer Brad Hand struck him out to end the game, sealing Boston’s 7-5 defeat.
Despite his bullpen’s shaky performance, Cora still has confidence in his relief corps and does not feel the team needs to find a proven, go-to closer at the end of games.
“We feel that we’ve done an outstanding job so far," Cora said. "Nothing’s going to change right now.”