By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 6-0 Indians: No fight from the Red Sox in the ninth, as Ortiz (flyout), Ramirez (ground out), and Bogaerts (fly out) went down in order.
All the pressure now falls on Clay Buchholz’s shoulders for Game 3. See you Sunday.
End 8th, 6-0 Indians: Joe Kelly remained a bright spot, retiring the first two batters of the inning, before Farrell called upon Craig Kimbrel just to get the closer some work. He struck out Perez, and the game now moves to the ninth. Few are holding their breath for a six-run rally, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Red Sox’ spirits to try to scrape a couple of runs across the board here to avoid the goose egg.
Middle 8th, 6-0 Indians: Two on, nobody out. And nobody scores.
Dan Otero came on and struck out Pedroia. Holt then lined out to center field, advancing Leon to third, but Betts ended the inning with a harmless chopper to short.
It’s already on to Game 3 and Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox.
Top 8th, 6-0 Indians: Francona decided to roll the dice and send Kluber out to the mound for the eighth inning. It was the first move of the series that didn’t go Francona’s way.
Kluber walked Leon and then hit Bradley with a breaking ball, putting two on with nobody out. Francona made the move at that point. On the one hand, you have to wonder why he’d make a guy pitching after suffering a minor injury to go over 100 pitches in a 6-0 game. On the other hand, it’s a 6-0 game, so no move could really be all that damaging.
End 7th, 6-0 Indians: Not too many bright spots for Boston thus far, but if you’re eager to find one, I guess Joe Kelly would qualify? He just retired the side in order, and he struck out the only batter he faced last night. So there’s that.
Middle 7th, 6-0 Indians: Another inning for Kluber. Another 1-2-3 showing for the Red Sox.
They might already be mentally on the plane at this point. At least, based on the uncharacteristic error from Pedroia and the lackluster showing with the bats that inning, that could reasonably be assumed.
Corey Kluber gave the Indians everything he possibly could have, going seven scoreless innings and striking out more batters (7) than he allowed to reach base (5).
End 6th, 6-0 Indians: Roberto Perez grounded into what should have been a routine 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. It’s a play Dustin Pedroia has made 100,000 times without issue. But as he dropped to a knee to field the ball, he flat-out missed, allowing it to roll right through the wickets.
Instead of being back in the dugout, reliever Brad Ziegler had a first-and-third, one-out situation on his hands. And because the Indians have been relentless today, they capitalized. Rajai Davis sent a liner to center field, which was deep enough for Guyer to tag up and score the Indians’ sixth run of the night.
Ziegler then followed it up by walking Kipnis on four pitches in an at-bat where not even one pitch was close to the plate. Lindor came up with two on and two out, and Ziegler got him to whiff on a 72 mph inside changeup to end the inning.
The Sox used three pitchers that inning, pulling Barnes after a leadoff single, pulling Robbie Ross after he struck out the only batter he faced, and then going to Ziegler.
Middle 6th, 5-0 Indians: The Red Sox need a few breaks, but they’re not getting any. Brock Holt sent a grounder to Napoli’s right, and the ball skipped up off Napoli’s heel. But the ball ended up bouncing right to Kipnis, and Kluber was already on his way to cover first right off the bat, and so Kipnis calmly tossed to the pitcher to beat Holt by a half-step.
Mookie Betts singled with two outs, but Ortiz lined out to right field to end the inning.
End 5th, 5-0 Indians: Replay giveth, and replay taketh away. In this instance (unlike last night), the slow-mo replay on a tag play went against the Indians, and it helped the Red Sox get out of the inning. Pedroia slapped a tag down on Ramirez’s left foot as he slid into second base on a stolen-base attempt. Ramirez was initially ruled safe, but replay showed Pedroia’s tag clearly getting down prior to Ramirez touching the base.
If these replay reviews have proven anything, it’s that umpiring in real speed from one angle is absolutely impossible. The human eye can’t catch these things.
But replay can, and the inning’s over.
Middle 5th, 5-0 Indians: Corey Kluber is mowing down the Red Sox.
He allowed a Bogaerts infield single to start the inning, but it stopped there. Benintendi made decent contact but hit the ball directly at the right fielder for out No. 1. Sandy Leon then popped out weakly to short. And Jackie Bradley swung over a breaking ball for strike three to end the inning.
Kluber’s through five scoreless on 80 pitches.
End 4th, 5-0 Indians: Another run got added to Price’s line, though it was more Brock Holt’s fault than anything. Barnes induced a Davis chopper, one that brought Holt right to the bag to field and throw to first. The problem was that he failed to do the first part, letting the ball bounce right out of his glove for the second time today. He was able to pick up the ball and keep his foot on the bag for one out, but the 5-3 double play possibility was gone.
Granted some free life, Kipnis made the most of it by sending a single into left-center field to drive in Perez from second.
It closed the book on Price. It’s ugly:
3.1 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 SO, 5 R, 4 ER.
Bottom 4th, 1 out, 4-0 Indians: Much to the delight of the Cleveland fans in attendance, David Price just made the long walk back to the dugout. His day is over.
John Farrell made the move after Price walked Roberto Perez on a full count, putting to men on with one out.
We’ll have to wait to see how Matt Barnes navigates the rest of the inning before closing the book on Price, but even if those runs don’t come around to score, three and a third aren’t exactly what you pay a man $31 million for.
Middle 4th, 4-0 Indians: The Red Sox were on the verge of having a decent inning. At the very least, they looked to be in great position to get on the board. Dustin Pedroia walked, and following a Brock Holt strikeout (looking), Betts walked too.
With two on and one out, David Ortiz strode plateward. He unleashed his home run swing on the first pitch, but he didn’t make great contact, sending a popup behind second base.
With the big inning mostly gone, Hanley Ramirez had a chance to score a run with a single. But instead he stared at strike three for the second time today, ending the inning and the threat.
That’s three times in his last four at-bats that Ramirez has watched strike three go by.
End 3rd, 4-0 Indians: Price had to work, but he escaped the third unscathed. Mike Napoli muscled a one-out broken-bat single into left field, but Price buckled down and struck out Santana and Ramirez to end the inning. Both of the strikeouts came on fastballs at 94 mph.
In a baseball oddity, Napoli pulled off a well-executed delayed steal. Napoli had five stolen bases all year long, and the TBS cameras caught Terry Francona chuckling in the Cleveland dugout. It’s fun to be ahead.
Middle 3rd, 4-0 Indians: Corey Kluber just had what the people like to call a “shutdown inning.”
He got Benintendi to hit a lazy fly ball to right field, before getting Sandy Leon to strike out swinging at a breaking ball and Jackie Bradley to strike out looking at a fastball. The Sox wanted to get back in the fight that inning, but Kluber made sure that his team would be back to bat in short order.
End 2nd, 4-0 Indians: David Price fell behind. And then he fell apart. He didn’t exactly get hit hard to start the inning, but he allowed three consecutive hits to allow the Indians to take a 1-0 lead.
Following a Napoli ground-out, Carlos Santana sent a grounder through the hole on the left side. Jose Ramirez then drove a ball into the ground, and Brock Holt couldn’t field it cleanly while charging hard across the diamond. Ramirez might have beaten it out even if Holt had fielded it.
Then came Brandon Guyer, who fisted a ball into shallow center field. Bradley had no play on Santana at the plate, and Ramirez made a great read to move from first to third with ease.
In a bit of a jam, Price had to face Lonnie Chisenhall with runners on the corners and one out.
With a 2-1 count, Chisenhall turned on an inside fastball, smoking a line drive over the right field fence, bringing home three runs and getting Cleveland out to a huge lead.
Price then lost a seven-pitch battle with Roberto Perez by walking him, and the crowd was really feeling it. But Price rebounded to get Davis to strike out swinging and Santana to pop out to third base.
That was the prototypical bad inning that tends to ruin Price’s postseason starts. It came early, and it was a doozy. He needed 30 pitches to get through it, and it involved the Red Sox calling upon Matt Barnes to get warm. In the second inning. Grisly situation for the Red Sox.
Alas, as they say, it’s still early.
Middle 2nd, 0-0: Hanley Ramirez continues to disagree with strikes called on pitches on the outer edge of the plate. Xander Bogaerts continues to be unable to hit the ball with any force. And the Red Sox go down in order.
David Ortiz got jammed and popped out to shallow right to lead off, and Hanley Ramirez took a 3-2 two-seamer on the black for strike three called. Bogaerts then grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw, bringing another quick inning to a close.
End 1st, 0-0: The early returns for David Price are positive, as he set the Indians down in order to start the game. Speedster Rajai Davis popped out behind the plate to lead off, followed by more bad contact from Jason Kipnis, who popped out to short. Francisco Lindor hit a chopper down the third-base line, but Brock Holt was able to get enough on the long throw from foul ground to beat the runner by a step.
A tidy eight pitches — seven strikes — for Price that inning.
Middle 1st, 0-0: Brock Holt singled into right field, making him 4-for-5 this series, but Mookie Betts (0-for-3 in Game 1) remained cold by grounding to second base. Kipnis easily handled the grounder, ran to second base, and threw on to first base for the 4-3 double play.
Kluber needed just 15 pitches to escape the first, though only eight were strikes. The Red Sox may do well to show some patience today.
Top 1st, 0-0: Corey Kluber’s initial offering is a ball high and tight to Pedroia, and this one is underway.
4:36 p.m.: Following a rousing speech at home plate by LeBron James, we’re now ready to begin.
3 p.m.: The season is not on the line today for the Boston Red Sox. But it kind of is.
Realistically, the Red Sox are not only good enough to win three straight games, but they’re good enough to do so by a rather wide margin. So for as much as today’s game might be dubbed a “must-win,” the reality is there won’t be a high level of panic in the Red Sox clubhouse if they had back to Fenway down 2-0 in the series to Cleveland.
However, the reality is this: The Red Sox are not going to go far in the playoffs unless Rick Porcello and David Price pitch reasonably well. They need not go all Madison Bumgarner on everybody, but they do need to pitch six or seven inning and allow two or fewer runs in multiple starts this potseason if the Red Sox are to actually contend for a title.
Porcello obviously got off to the wrong start in Game 1, and in Game 2, David Price carries the weight of a lackluster postseason career on his shoulders as he takes the mound in Cleveland this afternoon.
To reiterate: The Red Sox can lose today and still win the series. A three-game win streak against a team that’s about on their level is not unfathomable. However, a bad performance from David Price will not instill much confidence regarding the team’s longer-term postseason hopes.
As for the lineup, there was one slight change, as Andrew Benintendi moved up to seventh from the nine spot, and Jackie Bradley slid down to the bottom of the order. Brock Holt rewarded John Farrell’s confidence on Thursday night, and so he’s back in the two-hole on Friday.
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Brock Holt, 3B
3. Mookie Betts, RF
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
7. Andrew Benintendi, LF
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Check back here in the live blog throughout the game for updates and analysis as the Red Sox try to even the series at a game apiece before heading back to Fenway.