CLEVELAND -- The Indians looked like they had finally solved Red Sox pitcher Doug Fister last week in Boston. On Tuesday night, the right-hander returned to his typical role as tormentor, handcuffing Cleveland's lineup to one hit for a complete-game, 9-1 victory at Progressive Field.It was hard to believe a
CLEVELAND -- The Indians looked like they had finally solved Red Sox pitcher Doug Fister last week in Boston. On Tuesday night, the right-hander returned to his typical role as tormentor, handcuffing Cleveland's lineup to one hit for a complete-game, 9-1 victory at Progressive Field.
It was hard to believe a performance like this was in store for Fister after his third pitch of the night was belted out of the park by Indians leadoff man Francisco Lindor. From there, the righty cruised, facing just 28 batter for the rest of the game.
"The first batter definitely made me pay," said Fister. "I threw out a bad curveball and he really made me pay for it. It kind of knocks you back in line a little bit, gets you back where you need to be. For me, I started to switch things up a little bit. Had a little different game plan tonight. Sandy [Leon] really called a great game back there tonight."
Fister's gem took 114 pitches and it was the first one-hitter of his career. The last time a pitcher gave up a leadoff homer and didn't allow a hit for the rest of a nine-inning performance was White Sox right-hander Jack McDowell on July 14, 1991.
"When you think the third pitch goes out of the ballpark to tie things up, and from that point on, nine no-hit innings," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think for three hitters in nine innings, he pitched out of the stretch. It's an impressive outing."
The veteran, picked up on waivers by the Red Sox from the Angels in June, recovered from a rare blemish against the Tribe last week in Boston, when he gave up seven hits and five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss at Fenway.
"I take some gratification in getting a little revenge," Fister said. "It doesn't erase anything, but it does allow us to go out there and play a good game tonight."
Fister, who has filled in admirably for David Price in Boston's rotation, ended with six strikeouts, 11 groundouts and two double plays. Backed by home runs from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Eduardo Nunez, the American League East-leading Red Sox maintained their 4 1/2-game lead over the Yankees.
Cleveland saw its lead atop the AL Central trimmed to 4 1/2 games over the Twins.
After Lindor's 21st homer, Cleveland then went 0-for-25 against Fister the rest of the way. That was a drastic contrast from Aug. 14, when the Indians struck for five runs off Fister and chased him before the end of the fifth at Fenway Park.
"He made adjustments," Lindor said. "We didn't, and he ended with the 'W.' Last time, we made the adjustments and we ended up with the win."
Fister is a familiar foe for the Indians, dating back to his days with the Tigers. In 124 2/3 career innings against Cleveland, the sinkerballer boasts a 3.18 ERA. Fister's complete game was the fifth of nine innings in his career and first with only one hit allowed.
"He kind of put on a clinic," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He located his fastball with movement, changed speeds. When he did make a mistake, we didn't hit it, which wasn't often. He kind of went right through us."
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (12-6) took the loss after giving up six runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Bradley, who exited with a left thumb injury, homered off Carrasco in the fifth and scored a key run within a three-run seventh for the Red Sox. Nunez helped power the Boston lineup with a three-run homer and two-run double, setting a career high with five RBIs.
"Those guys, they have a very good lineup," Carrasco said. "Every bad pitch that I missed, they hit them so hard."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bradley's painful dash: With one out and runners on first and second in the seventh, Nunez sent a pitch from Carrasco bouncing off the 19-foot wall in left. Leon scored easily, but Bradley had to hit a high gear to motor around from first. The relay throw from Lindor arrived at the same time as Bradley, who slid awkwardly while reaching for the plate to avoid the sweeping tag from catcher Yan Gomes. Bradley was deemed safe and that call stood after an Indians challenge necessitated a replay review, giving Boston a 5-1 lead.
On the play, Bradley's left hand bent back while he touched the plate and he immediately grabbed it in pain after shifting to his feet. Bradley was removed from the game with a left thumb injury. Though X-rays taken at Progressive Field were negative, Bradley will undergo an MRI in Boston on Wednesday morning. More >
Fister grounds Tribe: Fister's sinker was in fine form against the Indians, who continuously chopped pitches into the ground. Fister induced a couple of key double plays, including one against Gomes in the second. After Fister hit Bradley Zimmer with a pitch (a Cleveland challenge led to an overturned ball ruling), Gomes shot a pitch on the ground to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who killed the rally by starting a 6-4-3 double play.
"This night was Doug Fister. On a night we needed a starter to go deep, he gave it to us," Farrell said. "An important day of rest, another day of rest for some guys down in that bullpen. That was a big start for Doug."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The last time the Red Sox held an opponent to just one hit was against the Blue Jays on May 10, 2013. The last time they did so on the road was a Josh Beckett one-hitter against the Rays on June 15, 2011.
KIPNIS EXITS GAME
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was in the lineup as the designated hitter, left Tuesday's game after one at-bat due to tightness in his right hamstring. Kipnis missed most of July with an injury to the same hamstring and has been favoring it in recent days. On a groundout in the first, he appeared to pull up while running to first. He was replaced in the lineup by Yandy Diaz.
"Obviously it's related [to the previous injury]," Francona said. " We're going to get him [an MRI exam] in the morning just to see kind of where he's at. His strength tests out pretty good, but we just need to get some more information." More >
Red Sox: Left-hander Thomas Pomeranz, perhaps the most underrated performer on the Red Sox this season, draws Wednesday night's start against the Indians. Pomeranz (12-4, 3.31 ERA) departed his last start in the fourth inning with back spasms, but he didn't need to miss a turn in the rotation. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Indians: Ace Corey Kluber (12-3, 2.67 ERA) rolled his right ankle in his last start on Friday and left after 74 pitches, but he passed a number of tests over the past few days. The right-hander will start as planned against the Red Sox in a 7:10 p.m. ET tilt on Wednesday at Progressive Field. Kluber is 8-1 with a 2.09 ERA at home this year.
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.