Red Sox's hot bats back Rodriguez vs. Tribe
BOSTON -- Picking up where they left off this weekend, the Red Sox continued churning out runs by the bunches and supported a strong outing by starter Eduardo Rodriguez, cruising to a 9-1 victory over the Indians on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Rodriguez turned in a career-best eight innings, limiting Cleveland to one run on six hits and ending with five strikeouts against no walks. His lone blemish came in the seventh, when Michael Brantley led off with a home run to account for the Tribe's only breakthrough against the left-handed rookie.
"He got in a great run for several innings," Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "He was comfortable, free and easy."
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer received a quick hook after giving up five runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings, forcing the Indians to dip into their bullpen early. In seven second-half starts, Bauer is 1-5 with a 7.05 ERA, including three outings of fewer than five innings.
"He's fighting it right now. I think we all know that," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "When you're going really good and you feel good, you're confident and you're throwing pitches with conviction. I think right now he's probably second-guessing himself a little bit, like, 'Am I throwing the right pitch? Or, are they hitting it when I do?' We've got to get him back to being confident."
Leading the early offensive charge for Boston was Mookie Betts, who pulled a pitch from Bauer off the Green Monster in left for a three-run double in a four-run second inning for the Red Sox. First baseman Travis Shaw scattered four singles, his seventh multihit game in 22 appearances this season, and Blake Swihart chipped in a pair of run-scoring hits in the win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Aviles' error opens door: With runners on first and second and no outs in the second, Bauer induced a grounder off the bat of Rusney Castillo. Third baseman Mike Aviles gloved the roller, stepped on third for an out, but then fired wildly beyond first base in an effort to turn a double play. Runners moved up to second and third base, helping set up Boston's big inning.
"He went to third, which was good," Francona said. "And then when he got to the bag, he pushed off the bag instead of probably moving his feet. It just kind of tailed away and [first baseman Carlos Santana], that ball's kind of in-between the runner and him, and he wasn't able to go get it."
Betts catches a break: Betts swung and missed at an 0-2 curveball in the second inning, but it was ruled a foul tip. Catcher Roberto Perez couldn't stop the ball from striking the dirt, keeping the at-bat alive for Boston's center fielder. Bauer then followed with two more breaking balls -- the second of which was sent off the left-field wall for Betts' bases-clearing double.
"Roberto said he fouled it," Francona said. "I know, from talking to everybody else, it didn't look like it. We didn't even react, because we knew he didn't catch it cleanly. I even asked Roberto afterwards and he said he fouled it. So I don't know. It's a little bit odd. I haven't seen the video, but everybody that's seen it said it looks like it was strike three. So that's interesting." More >
Nearly spotless: Rodriguez pitched flawlessly through three innings before shortstop Francisco Lindor finally gave the Tribe a hit, smacking a one-out single back up the middle. The left-hander went on to retire eight of the next nine batters he faced before Brantley clubbed a 1-0 slider deep into the right-field seats. The performance marked the 11th time in 15 starts that Rodriguez has surrendered three or fewer runs.
"It was probably [throwing] my fastball where I want," Rodriguez said. "Outside corner, inside corner. And working it with the slider and changeup, too." More >
Welcome back, Brant: After missing the entire weekend series in Minnesota due to a left shoulder issue, Brantley returned to the lineup in Boston as the Tribe's designated hitter. After collecting a pair of hits in his first game back Monday night, Brantley delivered a solo homer (his ninth shot on the season) against Rodriguez on Tuesday.
"I threw everything on the edge of the strike zone tonight, and they hit it. So maybe next game I'll try to throw it down the middle, since that's something they didn't hit tonight." --Bauer
"He started with velocity, and he showed that he was going to throw it for strikes, and he held his velocity pretty much the whole game. He threw strike one. He worked ahead. He worked quick. And, he had a six-run lead." --Francona, on Rodriguez
FRONT OFFICE SHAKEUP
During the game, the Red Sox announced the hiring of former Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski as the club's president of baseball operations. They also revealed that Ben Cherington is resigning from his current post as general manager. Dombrowski has strong familiarity with Red Sox principal owner John Henry from their time working together with the Marlins in the late '90s -- Dombrowski as GM and Henry as owner.
"I've known Ben my whole time with the Red Sox," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "He's been a big part of a lot of things in my career. I've had a lot of memories. Obviously this is new. We're going to miss him. I'm going to miss him. He has a lot of special relationships with guys. It's tough." More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Crew chief review confirmed that designated hitter David Ortiz hit a run-scoring double to give Boston the lead, 1-0, in the first inning. Ortiz narrowly missed out on a home run after swatting a liner that deflected off the top of the right-field wall and back onto the warning track. Umpires determined the ball remained in play following two minutes and 35 seconds of review. The knock pushed Ortiz's hitting streak up to the 10-game mark.
Indians: With Bauer only lasting 1 2/3 innings Tuesday night, the Indians probably feel fortunate to have ace Corey Kluber (8-12, 3.34 ERA) slated to start Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. ET tilt against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Kluber is coming off consecutive complete games, in which he allowed just two runs with 17 strikeouts and two walks. The reigning American League Cy Young winner has a 2.78 ERA over his past 18 turns for the Tribe.
Red Sox: Right-hander Joe Kelly (5-6, 5.69 ERA) takes the hill for Boston in the series finale. Kelly has dealt with plenty of inconsistency in his first full season with the Sox, producing only five quality starts in 19 outings, but his recent performance has been encouraging. In addition to winning three straight decisions, the 27-year-old held the Tigers and Mariners to a combined three runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two times out.
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