Indians split series with Red Sox, fall 7-0
BOSTON— David Price pitched eight shutout innings for his fifth straight win, backed by three bases-loaded doubles in Boston’s six-run fifth inning on Thursday as the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 7-0 to split their four-game series.
After losing the first two games, Boston won twice in 20 hours to open a 9½-game lead over the idle New York Yankees in the AL East. The Red Sox, who have the best record in baseball at 90-39, have not lost four games in a row all season, and they are the only team in the majors that has not been swept.
Price (14-6) gave up three hits against the AL Central leaders and no walks, hitting a batter and striking out seven before leaving to a standing ovation after the top of the eighth. He has allowed five runs in six starts since the All-Star break, an ERA of 1.09 that is the lowest in the league among regular starters.
Adam Plutko (4-4) matched him into the fifth, when Sandy Leon led off with a ground-rule double and moved to third on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s single. One out later, Plutko walked the bases loaded and then gave up Blake Swihart’s line drive to right-center that made it 2-0.
J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked, then Xander Bogaerts hit a one-hopper off reliever Adam Cimber that went over third baseman Jose Ramirez’s head and off the tip of his glove for another two-run double. Another intentional walk loaded the bases, and then Eduardo Nunez poked a double down the first-base line to make it 6-0.
Martinez singled in a run in the sixth — his major league-leading 109th RBI of the season — to give Boston a 7-0 lead.
Swihart entered the game as a pinch-runner in the first after first baseman Mitch Moreland aggravated an existing knee injury sliding for a foul ball. In addition to driving in the go-ahead run for the second straight game, he also had a nice scoop when Price made a bad throw to first on Roberto Perez’s comebacker in the sixth.
Price knocked the ball down with his glove and scrambled behind the mound to get it, then bounced a throw to Swihart, who was playing in just the sixth game of his career at the position. The ball bounced off Swihart’s glove but he grabbed it with his bare hand just in time to beat the runner.
Price also got some help when second baseman Brock Holt made an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right in the fifth inning. And Swihart started a 3-6 double play in the eighth.
LOST IN THE SUN
Cleveland leftfielder Melky Cabrera lost Moreland’s fly ball in the sun in the first inning, waving for help from his infielders before ducking out of the way of the ball. Moreland was safe with a single, giving the Red Sox runners on first and second with one out.
Plutko struck out Martinez and Bogaerts to escape.
Indians: Activated RHP Josh Tomlin from the 10-day disabled list (right hamstring strain) and put RHP Neil Ramirez (lower back spasms) on the 10-day DL.
Indians: Open a three-game series at Kansas City, with righty Mike Clevinger (9-7) facing righty Brad Keller (6-5).