The Red Sox allowed two eighth-inning runs to the Indians, giving Cleveland the 3-2 win in the first game of their series.
With Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson on the mound, Monday's game was not expected to be a shootout. And, sure enough, when the game was over, two of the American League's best offenses had provided a grand total of five runs. But the credit might be provided as much to the defenses which turned most of the balls in play they saw into outs as to the starting pitchers who induced 22 groundball outs between them,
The Red Sox would strike first, scoring a run off of Justin Masterson in the third inning thanks to a two-out single from Dustin Pedroia, scoring Carl Crawford who had reached on a leadoff base hit of his own. Cleveland wasted little time in responding, however, with Asdrubal Cabrera leading off the fourth with his third homer in two games on a 3-1 fastball from Clay Buchholz that caught about as much of the plate as possible.
Boston would regain the lead as quickly as they lost it with Carl Crawford replicating Cabrera's leadoff homer, making it 2-1. From there, both Buchholz and Masterson would settle down until the eighth. The Red Sox would have had a chance to score a third run in the frame with Jacoby Ellsbury reaching on an error by Justin Masterson, but he was caught stealing before a Dustin Pedroia walk--a mistake that would prove costly as Adrian Gonzalez followed Pedroia with a single that could have brought Ellsbury home. Pedroia would hurt himself attempting to round second, leaving the game on his own power with what's being described as a "stinger", and bringing Drew Sutton into the game as a pinch runner.
Instead, the score remained at 2-1, leaving the Red Sox unable to survive another problematic eighth inning. With Clay Buchholz' pitch count still quite low, the Sox called on him to return in the eighth. Buchholz would allow a single on a ground ball which barely got past Sutton before recording the first out of the frame and being pulled for Daniel Bard. Unfortunately, Bard once again proved incapable of holding the opposing team at bay late, allowing a game-tying single to Mike Brantley after recording the second out. Up came Asdrubal Cabrera, and for the second time in the game, he played the hero, putting a charge into a 1-0 fastball and sending it off the wall in left field to put the Indians on top.
The Red Sox did end up having a good chance to tie the game in the ninth. David Ortiz flew out on the first pitch of the inning, but J.D. Drew and Jed Lowrie each singled to right off Chris Perez to set up Carl Crawford with the chance to tie the game with as little as a sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, for as impressive as he had been in the clutch and to that point in the game, this time it was not to be. Crawford grounded to second just hard enough for the Indians to turn the double play and secure their 3-2 win.