The Red Sox lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling to an Indians team fresh off an 11-game losing streak and a starting pitcher in Ubaldo Jimenez whose ERA was 5.29.
Things started off poorly for the Red Sox, as they wasted a leadoff single and two stolen bases by Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the first and saw Felix Doubront surrender a leadoff shot to Jason Donald. For a team that had lost 11 before finally defeating the Twins, the Indians certainly seemed to have a fair deal of momentum on their side.
The game would change heading into the middle innings, however. Doubront settled down, retiring nine-of-ten Indians in the second, third, and fourth innings while Adrian Gonzalez turned on an Ubaldo Jimenez fastball up-and-not-in-enough, crushing it into the stands past right field with Dustin Pedroia on for a two-run shot to put the Sox ahead by one. They would score again in the next inning thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury's second trip to the basepaths and third steal of the night.
Then came the fifth, and the predictable trouble for Felix Doubront as his pitch count rose. The lefty starter had been the most consistent option for the Sox in the first few months of the season, but as his innings count has risen well above last year's, Doubront has flagged, particularly late in games. This was no different, as the Indians struck for three runs in the fifth inning. That the team is still toying with a six-man rotation and Doubront isn't even the first name to be shut down for a while is simply shocking.
The Sox would mount no rallies from there. The best opportunity they had came in the eighth, when Adrian Gonzalez singled, was replaced by a pinch-runner in Nick Punto (Punto batting fourth...if it had gotten back around to him...), who was then stranded at second after a Cody Ross single. The Indians pushed across an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, but it was entirely unnecessary.
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