Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Associated Press
CLEVELAND - After learning early in the day that Will Middlebrooks' solid rookie season was likely over because of a fractured wrist, the Boston Red Sox needed some good news.
None came Saturday night as they fell to the Cleveland Indians 5-2 for their eighth loss in 11 games. The Red Sox have dropped 2 of 3 in the series to a team that broke an 11-game losing streak Wednesday, one shy of the franchise record.
Boston starter Franklin Morales (3-3) allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings, but the offense was held in check by rookie Zach McAllister, and two rallies were snuffed out by bad baserunning.
Making matters worse, the offensive star for Cleveland was Brent Lillibridge, who spent three weeks with the Red Sox earlier this season. Lillibridge homered in the third to put Cleveland ahead. His RBI single tied the game 2-2 in the fifth. With Cleveland leading 3-2, Lillibridge had a hustle double to lead off the seventh, took third on a groundout and scored on Lou Marson's suicide squeeze.
The Red Sox acquired Lillibridge and pitcher Zach Stewart from the Chicago White Sox for third baseman Kevin Youkilis on June 24. Lillibridge was designated for assignment July 16 and traded to the Indians eight days later for minor league pitcher Jose De La Torre.
Over-aggressive baserunning by Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury didn't help the cause.
Ellsbury started the sixth with a drive off the wall in left-center and never slowed down in heading toward third. Center fielder Michael Brantley's throw was wide, but Lillibridge made a diving tag.
"It was a perfect play. (Brantley) fielded it barehanded off the wall," Ellsbury said. "I'd do it again."
Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine questioned that thought process.
"If he had to do it again, he wouldn't do it with no outs," Valentine said.
Boston's first nine hitters went down before the Red Sox scored twice in the fourth. After Ellsbury led off with a double, Carl Crawford bunted to the left of the mound. McAllister wanted to throw to third, but Lillibridge charged the play and no one covered the bag. McAllister threw to first but Crawford was safe.
After Pedroia reached on an infield single to load the bases, Adrian Gonzalez doubled off the wall in left field, scoring Ellsbury and Crawford. Pedroia, off with the crack of the bat, was on Crawford's tail around third but was tagged out at the plate.
NOTES: Boston called up third baseman Danny Valencia from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace Middlebrooks. ... DH David Ortiz (heel) took batting practice Saturday, but it's unclear when he will return.