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Red Sox-Indians: Cranking It Up for a 12th Win?

E ASenior Analyst IApril 28, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 26: A fan hold a broom to indicate a three-game Boston Red Sox sweep over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park April 26, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won the game 4-1. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The past 11 games have been nothing short of amazing for Red Sox Nation.

The Red Sox, who at first couldn't buy a win, won every way possible.

Pitcher's duels? Check.

Yesterday, the teams in Cleveland saw a 0-0 game go into the ninth inning. On Sunday the 19th, Jon Lester turned in a gem, striking out nine as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 2-1.

Offensive blowouts? Check.

The first win of the streak was a near-no hitter by Tim Wakefield, an 8-2 victory overall. Wakefield carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and a no-hitter into the eighth. There was also a 12-1 thumping of Baltimore On April 19, when Jon Lester turned in his first quality start of the season, allowing no runs, four hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out nine.

Add wins against Minnesota (10-1 and 7-3) along with a 16-11 storming of the Yankees, and it becomes a long list.

Late game comebacks? Check.

On April 17, the Red Sox came back from a 7-0 Baltimore lead with a two-run sixth inning, winning 10-8. Then on Friday, Mariano Rivera gave up a two-run homer to Jason Bay to tie the game at four. Kevin Youkilis hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning.

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Many exciting moments emerged from the 11 (and perhaps counting) game winning streak.

This past Friday, the Red Sox opened up the first series against the Yankees with an extra innings-win. Jason Bay hit a game tying two-run homer off Mariano River with two outs in the ninth, sending the game to extras. Kevin Youkilis drove a ball over the Monster in the 11th to win it.

Saturday was a home run derby between Boston and New York. The Yankees held a 6-1 lead when Jason Varitek hit a grand slam near Williamsburg (the bullpen section).

Later on in a game which saw the lead change hands too many times to count, Mike Lowell hit a three-run homer atop the Green Monster to put the Red Sox up for good.

On Sunday night, perhaps the most exciting moment of all occurred against renowned pickoff artist Andy Pettitte: Jacoby Ellsbury stole home plate. He was the first Red Sox player to do so since Billy Hatcher in 1994.

Finally, Jason Bay hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth yesterday, breaking a scoreless game. The Red Sox won it 3-1, for the 11th straight win.

Tonight, right-hander Brad Penny makes his first career start at Cleveland's Progressive Field as he looks to keep the winning streak alive. On the season, Penny has two quality starts in three outings, earning a 2-0 record and a 7.80 ERA.

Penny faces young hurler Anthony Reyes, who is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA. Reyes has lacked control at times this year, and is making his first start against the Red Sox in his young career.

Despite being in a hitter-friendly ballpark tonight, Penny said, "You've got to get guys out. I'll just stick to the same game, I don't worry about the field I play in."

Although a stranger to the Indians lineup, Penny pointed out that they are just as foreign to him as he is to they.

On the road, Penny has held hitters to a .227 batting average, and a 4.50 ERA in one start. In that lone outing, Penny earned a win. At home, Reyes has compiled a .163 batting average against with a 4.50 ERA.

With a hot offense and good pitching, the Red Sox look to have all the tools it takes to keep this great play alive.

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