When an offense hands a pitcher five early runs, and the pitcher is of the quality of Jon Lester, you are so tempted to say that this one is in the W column and move on.
Lester wasn't good tonight, and gave all those runs back, as the Indians scored three runs in the third and three more in the sixth. Granted, some of the hits were really of the cheap variety, but Lester wasn't sharp at all.
The Red Sox also wasted some opportunities to put the dagger in the Tribe, as they left the bases loaded in the second and got just one run. Former future superstar Andy Marte made three errors in the first inning and it looked like the cakewalk was on, as the Red Sox jumped out 4-0.
It looked like it was going to be a 6-5 Indians win, as the Sox did nothing against the Tribe pen. But J.D. Drew was hit by a pitch with two outs against Kerry Wood, and Adrian Beltre looked like he was saving the Sox' bacon as he blasted a shot into the left field seats. 7-6.
But Daniel Bard was shaky yet again as the sub closer. (Do you appreciate Jonathan Papelbon a little more now?) He loaded the bases with no outs, but got the next two outs. But he gave up a rinky-dink bloop to Russell Branyan that brought the winning runs in, and a really revolting 8-7 loss, to a team with a rotten bullpen and not the best offense in the league. (I really didn't care much about Wednesday's loss, as the Sox ran into a buzzsaw and got beat. But tonight? Awful.)
Only good thing I can say about tonight was that Tampa Bay and New York both lost, but the Sox missed a golden opportunity to gain a game on them both.
The Red Sox are now 10-10 against three of the AL's lightweights combined: Indians, Orioles and Royals. Ugh.
BTW, if I had said to you that after the Sox won the first two games of this series, and with the Sox' two best pitchers going to conclude it, that the Indians would score 19 runs and win them both, would you believe me?
Papelbon will return as closer tomorrow night. And the general unfairness that is interleague play returns, as the Red Sox renew their "rivalry" with the Phillies at Fenway on Friday night.