Cliff Lee is still searching for his 23rd win, but he did end up finding his third loss of the season. Boston and Wakefield beat Lee and the Indians 5-4 on Tuesday evening, Boston clinching a post-season berth in the process. This was Lee’s second start in a row he didn’t pick up a win.
Lee went seven innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. He raised his ERA to 2.54 in the loss. He still leads all of Major League Baseball in ERA. Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks is tied with him for wins at 22.
Time Wakefield went six, allowing four runs on six hits, with six strikeouts and a walk. He raised his record to 10-11 on the year. He tied Roger Clemens for the most ten win seasons in Red Sox history at ten.
Boston rejoiced on the field after clinching the spot, breaking the Yankees post season string of fourteen straight visits October ball in the process. They can still catch Tampa Bay for the division crown, sitting three games back with five to play.
That clears up one thing in the AL Central. Either the Chicago White Sox or the Minnesota Twins will be going to the playoffs, but not both. Chicago and the Twins are separated by 1.5 games in the Central, the White Sox on top, but they are in the midst of a three game series, with Minnesota winning the first game last night.
The Indians close out the season against the White Sox and could be potential spoilers in the AL Central.
The Red Sox got on the board first in the Clevelandmatchup. Kevin Youkilis hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth after David Ortiz doubled, giving Boston at 2-0 lead.
The Indians scored all four of their runs in the in top of the fifth, making the score 4-2 Indians and giving Lee a great opportunity at his 23rd win.
After Kelly Shoppach was hit by a pitch, Franklin Gutierrez singled him over to second. Barfield struck out for the first out of the inning, then Grady Sizemore stroked a single to right, scoring Shoppach and moving Gutierrez to third. Jamey Carroll grounded out, but moved up both runners, scoring Gutierrez. Shin-Soo Choo doubled to score Carroll, then scored himself on a Jhonny Peralta double. Victor Martinez flied out, but it was 4-2 Tribe.
Lee surrendered three runs in the bottom half of the fifth. After a Cash infield single, former Indian Cocoa Crisp grounded into a fielder’s choice, erasing Cash. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, scoring Crisp, then scored on a Pedroia double. Youkilis was intentionally walked, but Jason Baysingled home Pedroia for what ended up to be the winning run in this one.
The Indians threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases on two singles with a walk sandwiched in between, before Martinez fouled out to end the Indians part of the inning.
The Indians loaded them up again in the top of the eighth, but Boston closer Jonathon Papelbon came on and with one pitch squelched any chance of a Cleveland comeback by getting Carroll to ground out with two outs.
Jhonny Peralta and Josh Barfield each had two hits for the Indians. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis paced the way for Boston with two hits each as well.
Wednesday’s game pits Fausto Carmona(8-7, 5.19 ERA) against recently traded Indian Paul Byrd(11-12, 4.53 ERA). Carmona was suspended for six games on Monday for his role in the brawl with the Tigers, and it is unclear whether he will appeal and pitch, or will sit this one out.