The Minnesota Twins are fresh off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox, and have a half game lead in the AL Central. The Indians travel to Chicago Friday with an opportunity to become the Twins’ best friends forever, and an opportunity to finish out the season at .500.
Cleveland dropped three of four against Boston this week and have fallen one game below the even-steven mark with three games left on the schedule. The Tribe will need to win at least two of the three to finish at .500, and a three game sweep would be even better.
If you call the Twins, they’d be in complete agreement. While the Twins lead the AL Central, it’s the White Sox that have the extra game and can pull even with Minnesota by winning the additional game.
The Indians were completely stymied by Boston pitcher Jon Lester. He held the Indians hitless through five innings, and then gave up two hits and a run in the sixth before departing with a 5-1 lead. Boston added a run in the seventh for the 6-1 win.
Boston jumped all over Jeremy Sowers in the first two innings.
In the first, they scored three runs. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie singled, and Dustin Pedroia sac-flied Ellsbury home for the first run and first out of the inning. Sowers then proceeded to walk Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay, loading up the bases. Jason Varitek hit the second sac-fly of the inning for the second run of the inning, and Mark Kotsay drove home the third run with a double.
In the second, Boston added a pair. Ellsbury doubled, and Lowrie doubled Ellsbury home. Pedroia flied out, but moved up Lowrie, and Youkilis singled home Lowrie. That put Boston up 5-0 until the sixth.
The Indians scored on a Barfield double, a balk by Lester that moved Barfield to third, and a Jamey Carroll single. Prior to Barfield’s double, the only way the Indians could get on base was to walk or get hit by a pitch.
Youkilis hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh off Tom Mastney, rounding out the scoring.
The two hits by the Indians in the sixth were it. Masterson, Okajima, and Papelbon all no-hit the Indians after Lester.
The Indians head to Chicago for the last series of the year. Zach Jackson (1-3, 5.96 ERA) goes up against Javier Vasquez (12-15, 4.46 ERA).