The Red Sox dropped the final game of their series against the Indians Thursday night, falling 7-3 as the bullpen imploded following a decent Red Sox debut from Erik Bedard.
While Bedard didn't amaze in his first start with the Red Sox, he pitched well enough to calm Sox fans' nerves after his terrible return game against Tampa Bay. Spotted to an early 2-0 lead after one, Bedard ran into some tough luck in the second. A pair of weak ground ball singles left runners at the corners, and another ground ball failed to go for an out when, with both Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia converging on it, Bedard forgot to cover first. One more hit later, and the game was tied 2-2 without much in the way of contact.
Things didn't get any easier--or more fair--for Bedard in the third inning, as a 2-out pop fly fell between three fielders in shallow right, driving in a run from third.
Other tan that bit of unfortunate luck, though, Bedard had a strong start. The velocity was there, his curve ball was snapping through the bottom of the zone, and he only seemed to lose his control for a very short time in the third, and even then didn't give up any walks. In fact, had it not been for a strict pitch count that had him out of the game after just five innings and 70 pitches, this might be a very different recap.
But this was just Bedard's second start back from the disabled list, and so after Josh Reddick tied the game at 3-3 with his fifth home run of the year, Franklin Morales came out in the top of the sixth and promptly blew the game. Travis Hafner hit a ringing double, and then crossed the plate along with Carlos Santana as the Indians' catcher demolished the first pitch he saw, sending the ball over the wall in center and off the roof of the camera shelter. Not many balls get that far.
If the 5-3 lead wasn't enough, in came Andrew Miller to put an end to any hopes he ad to play a meaningful role for the rest of the season. It took Miller 71 pitches to record just eight outs, allowing four hits, two walks, and two runs in the process before Dan Wheeler was called upon to mercifully end the ninth.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall into a tie with the Yankees for first place in the A.L. East. That means the lead is now up for grabs for the winner of the upcoming three-game series between the two teams.