BOSTON – The Red Sox and Cleveland Indians exchanged nearly as many mistakes as runs for seven innings Saturday before a string of clutch hits and a friendly gust of wind helped Boston build the decisive rally.
Pinch-hitter Mike Carp drove in the tying run with an eighth-inning double, then scored on a double by Dustin Pedroia to lead the Red Sox to a 7-4 victory.
Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the eighth, Boston scored four times off reliever Vinnie Pestano (1-1) to open the largest lead in a game that featured plenty of chances at the plate but little success for either club.
“It’s big,” said Carp, who broke an 0-for-21 skid Friday night with a three-run homer in Boston’s 8-1 victory. “I was in a little bit of a slump. To be able to come out of that and win the ballgame, it means a lot.”
Pedro Ciriaco had three hits, including a one-out double that started Boston’s rally in the eighth. After Pestano struck out Jacoby Ellsbury for the second out, Carp batted for Jonny Gomes and lifted a first-pitch fastball to left for a double that easily scored Ciriaco.
Pedroia followed with a shot high off the Green Monster, giving Boston its first lead.
“This was a very good team win and we got contributions from a lot of guys,” Manager John Farrell said.
After Pedroia’s hit, the Indians walked David Ortiz intentionally and Mike Napoli followed with a walk to load the bases. Daniel Nava hit a high popup to shallow left field, but the blustery wind turned a routine out into a bloop single and two RBI.
“There were a couple of balls that were Fenway fly balls. I think the wind plays a factor, and The Wall. There’s a lot of things going on out there. That’s just a part of this ballpark,” said Cleveland Manager Terry Francona, who spent eight seasons in Boston. “The wind brought it back 20 feet and it ends up being in no-man’s land.”
Junichi Tazawa (4-2) struck out two in a hitless eighth and Andrew Bailey got three outs for his sixth save in seven chances.
Boston starter Jon Lester struck out a season-high eight in seven innings. He also hit a batter as Cleveland scored twice to take a 3-1 lead in the third, then threw a costly wild pitch in the seventh.
Mike Aviles and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back singles in the seventh, then Lester allowed the go-ahead run with a wild pitch to Mark Reynolds that skipped past catcher David Ross. Lester ended up striking out but Cleveland had regained the lead at 4-3.
“It didn’t even make it to the plate. I didn’t even give (Ross) a chance to block it,” Lester said. “I was on the same page as him, just trying to bury a curveball.”
Cabrera had three hits, stole two bases, drove in a run and scored another for the Indians, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Nick Swisher added an RBI double and Carlos Santana a run-scoring single.
Scott Kazmir pitched five innings and struck out six for Cleveland. He gave up two runs, five hits and four walks.
“I thought he had to dodge traffic all day and make some really big pitches. They made him work from the first inning on but he continued to make pitches,” Francona said.
Ciriaco had an RBI single in the second and Gomes’ sacrifice fly made it 3-3 in the sixth after an error by Reynolds at third base. Jose Iglesias singled and Ciriaco followed with a bunt that Reynolds barehanded cleanly, but he rushed his throw and the ball skipped out of play, allowing both runners to advance.