BOSTON -- Greg Allen tried pulling the ball into Fenway Park's famous right-field corner. The rookie later slashed a pitch to left. Both times, the Red Sox pulled off impressive catches to send the Indians' center fielder jogging off the field empty-handed.In the seventh inning, Allen sent a pitch from
BOSTON -- Greg Allen tried pulling the ball into Fenway Park's famous right-field corner. The rookie later slashed a pitch to left. Both times, the Red Sox pulled off impressive catches to send the Indians' center fielder jogging off the field empty-handed.
In the seventh inning, Allen sent a pitch from Red Sox starter Rick Porcello to the only part of the ballpark that has a zero-percent catch probability. In a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox on Monday night, Allen's two-run home run into the Indians' bullpen in right-center field completed a comeback that helped overcome some early troubles by ace Corey Kluber, giving Cleveland its 13th win in 16 games.
"That one felt good," Allen said with a smile.
This four-game series has been billed as a potential October preview, given that the 88-win Red Sox and 72-win Indians are on target for division crowns in the American League East and Central, respectively. In the opening tilt, Boston delivered a few early punches, but the Tribe fought back with a trio of late homers.
The Red Sox scratched across one run in the ninth in a last-ditch effort to pull off a walk-off win, but closer Cody Allen escaped with the save. Indians manager Terry Francona chuckled when asked if there has ever been a relaxing ninth inning at Fenway Park.
"I don't know if I've seen it. It's probably happened," Francona said. "This place can get electric. A guy throws ball one and feels like it's bases loaded. That's part of being here."
Melky Cabrera got the Tribe on the board first when he went deep off Porcello in the fifth inning, delivering a leadoff shot one day after belting a grand slam. One inning later, it was Michael Brantley's turn, and he came through with a game-tying two-run blast. In the seventh, Allen stunned the Fenway crowd with a no-doubter that soared out to right.
"Gorgeous swing," Francona said.
The homer not only gave the Tribe a 5-3 lead, but surely offered a sense of relief for Allen in his first career game in Boston.
In the third inning, Allen pulled a pitch from Porcello to right, where Mookie Betts ran it down, taking away a hit on a ball that had a 47 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™. In the fifth, Allen sliced a sinking liner to left, where Andrew Benintendi one-upped his teammate with a diving grab on a ball with only a 28 percent catch probability.
"That's just the game of baseball," Allen said. "You're going to have some that you hit hard that get caught and some you don't that fall in. You just try to manage those ups and downs and try to put together good at-bats."
Allen has certainly been doing that, too.
When his shot off Porcello cleared the bullpen wall, it gave Allen a 13-game hitting streak, which is the longest for a Major League rookie this season. The center fielder has hit at a .383 clip over the streak, filling in well for Leonys Martin, who is on the 10-day disabled list and recovering from a serious bacterial infection.
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"He's been unreal," Cody Allen said. "That's a position that we needed all year. Unfortunately, with Leonys going down, that was a tough one. We all want him here, but [Allen] stepped up. The good teams that we've had here in the past, that's been the mantra: Next guy up."
Allen's homer made a winner of Kluber, who shook off some early-inning woes en route to improving to 16-6 with a 2.74 ERA on the season. The right-hander struck out six, walked one and was charged with three runs on nine hits in his 6 1/3 innings of work.
The Red Sox broke through with two outs in the first inning, when Xander Bogaerts sent a Kluber pitch to center for a two-run single. Benintendi followed that up with a run-scoring single in the second that put the Tribe in a quick 3-0 hole. From there, Kluber held Boston to a 3-for-16 showing and did not allow another runner to reach second.
Allen did his part in limiting the damage done against Kluber, too.
Following Bogaerts' hit in the first inning, Ian Kinsler drove a pitch from Kluber to left-center field. Allen sprinted to his right and made a lunging catch to snare the baseball from the air, diving to the grass with the out secured.
"I was trying to do all I could to get to that ball," Allen said. "It happened to be tailing away from me a little bit, but I was fortunate to be able to get a glove on it and this time keep the ball in the glove. I was happy to see that."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Drama in the ninth: Armed with a two-run lead, Cody Allen allowed a leadoff double to Betts, issued a walk to Benintendi and then worked into a two-out jam with runners on the corners. Bogaerts sent a squibber up the third-base line to no-man's land, bringing Betts in from third and trimming Cleveland's lead to 5-4. The closer then got Kinsler to fly out to left to end the game.
"This is a home-field advantage for them. Fenway Park. Ninth inning," said Cody Allen. "Granted, that's an extremely long, talented lineup, too, so it's constant pressure that they're putting on an opposing pitcher and opposing defense. Then you add in Fenway Park, ninth inning -- it can be a lot. It's a playoff atmosphere."
Rally, grounded: After lefty Oliver Perez walked Mitch Moreland with two outs in the seventh, the Indians handed the ball to sidearmer Adam Cimber with slugger J.D. Martinez looming. Martinez fell behind, 0-2, but he then singled to center, putting runners on the corners for Bogaerts. Boston's shortstop sent a slower roller to the right side, where second baseman Jason Kipnis charged in, gloved the ball and shoveled it to first baseman Yonder Alonso for a critical inning-ending out.
"I think that's just the quickest to get to him at that point -- maybe the only way to get him on that," Kipnis said. "I knew I got a good break on it. Once I got to it, you just kind of have to search for it, and once you have the feel of the ball, you can push it off of that. I played it the way I wanted to."
The Indians received a home run from their left fielder (Brantley), center fielder (Allen) and right fielder (Cabrera) in the win. According to the Indians, it's only the 15th time in club history that all three starting outfielders went deep in the same game. Prior to Monday, the previous instance came against the Phillies on April 30, 2013 (Ryan Raburn, Drew Stubbs and Brantley).
HE SAID IT
"It was awesome. I'll tell you what, I think it might've been going out in the bottom of the eighth, when they were playing 'Sweet Caroline' during the half-inning, Frankie [Lindor] actually told me just to kind of take a moment and listen to the crowd. Just taking in something like that, obviously the history and the nostalgia of this place, it was a fun environment." -- Greg Allen
Rookie Shane Bieber (6-2, 4.37 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Tribe on Tuesday, when the Red Sox host the Indians at 7:10 p.m. ET in an MLB Network Showcase Game at Fenway Park. Bieber is 2-0 with a 4.11 ERA in six road starts this year. Boston will counter with righty Nathan Eovaldi, who is 2-0 with 1.99 ERA since joining the Red Sox.
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 Facebook.