BOSTON -- Coming back to Fenway Park on Monday night for a one-game makeup in the midst of a long road trip became a little less inconvenient for the Indians, who rode a pair of two-run homers by slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a 7-3 victory over the Red Sox.In a
BOSTON -- Coming back to Fenway Park on Monday night for a one-game makeup in the midst of a long road trip became a little less inconvenient for the Indians, who rode a pair of two-run homers by slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a 7-3 victory over the Red Sox.
In a matchup between the leaders of the American League East and Central, Encarnacion proved to be the difference in this one.
His first two-run rocket soared off the bat at an exit velocity of 111.7-mph per Statcast™ and snapped a 3-3 tie in the fifth after the Red Sox had come back from an early 3-0 deficit. It was Encarnacion's hardest home run of the season, and it had a projected distance of 424 feet. The right-handed hitter took aim at the Green Monster again in the sixth for two insurance runs, this time against reliever Richard Hembree. The Statcast™ readings on that one were 107.7-mph and 396 feet.
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"We always say that when he's going, we have a different gear," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Encarnacion. "Tonight's a good example. Last time we went in to Minnesota is when he really got hot. That would really help us."
Top Red Sox prospect Rafael Devers matched Encarnacion with two homers, but both of his were solo shots. Andrew Benintendi continued his recent hot streak for Boston by roping his fourth homer in the past four games into the bleachers in right-center.
"It's been Devers and Benny," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Those two guys of late have supplied the power for us. So it's good to see the ball travel as it's been. What we're seeing the last two days from Rafael Devers is nothing short of impressive."
Trevor Bauer scattered seven hits and three runs over 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win for the Tribe. Things did not go as well for Red Sox righty Doug Fister, who gave up seven hits, five runs and four walks while taking the loss.
The Indians extended their lead to five games in the Central with the win. The Red Sox are 4 1/2 games ahead in the East after the Yankees beat the Mets, 4-2.
The Red Sox and Indians meet again for a four-game series in Cleveland that starts next Monday. The way the standings currently set up, they would meet in the AL Division Series for the second straight season.
"Staked with a three-run lead, then they hit three homers, tie game," Bauer said. "We get the lead right back and I'm like, 'OK, here we go. That's all they're going to get.' Pitching 5-3, is a lot different than 3-3. It allowed me to be aggressive and just the confidence that goes with having a lead, knowing how good our bullpen is."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
E-5 leads to second Edwin HR: The Red Sox thought they were about to have a 1-2-3 sixth when Jose Ramirez hit a grounder to Devers. However, the third baseman bobbled the ball and his throw to first was late. Initially, Ramirez was ruled out. But the call was overturned after a challenge by Francona. Encarnacion stepped up next and smashed his second two-run homer of the night to put Boston in a four-run deficit.
"He's a well-known power hitter. A threat in any lineup," Farrell said of Encarnacion. "Having another big year."
Quick six for Devers: The second homer by Devers tied the game, and it gave him three homers in four at-bats dating back to Sunday night's dramatic shot against Albertin Chapman at Yankee Stadium. For Devers, that blast against Bauer also gave him six homers in his first 16 Major League games. Devers joins Sam Horn as the only Red Sox players since 1913 to hit that many in the first 16 games of a career. Horn smashed seven long balls in his first 16 games in 1987.
"The second [home run] the ball was going to bounce, Roberto [Perez] went down to block it," said Francona. "They got a really good young hitter that's kind of in that zone right now." More >
"He gave up the three home runs, but two were to Devers. ... And Benintendi, it's one of the prettiest swings you'll ever see. Other than that, he had a bunch of strikeouts and he pounded the zone pretty good. They kind of chipped away the first time, but when Edwin hit that next one, he kind of buckled down and really competed." -- Francona, on Bauer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The only Red Sox hitters besides Devers to have a multihomer game before turning 21? Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who did it once, and Tony Conigliaro, who had four.
Indians: Hitting its third city in as many days, Cleveland turns to right-hander Danny Salazar for an 8:10 p.m. ET start against Minnesota at Target Field. Salazar, who will be making his fifth start since returning from the DL with shoulder soreness, is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings in that span.
Red Sox: Sinkerballer Rick Porcello (6-14, 4.63 ERA) opens a two-game series against the Cardinals when he pitches Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game at Fenway Park. It will be the first visit to Boston for the Cards since they lost the clinching Game 6 of the 2013 World Series. Righty Mike Leake will start for St. Louis.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Indians on Monday.