After three well-pitched games in Cleveland, the finale of the Red Sox-Indians evolved into a big time slugfest, with the Red Sox prevailing, 14-9. Manny Ramirez went deep twice, the first being a nearly 500-foot bomb to center, and Wily Mo Pena had a rare big night, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a three-run homer to pace the offensive attack. (I really hope this doesn't convince the Red Sox to hold on to Pena beyond this coming Tuesday's trade deadline.)
The Red Sox win, combined with the Yankees loss in Kansas City, puts the Red Sox back to 7 1/2 games up in the AL East.
The two teams combined for just 10 runs the first three games, but both either matched that or came very close to that number last night. The Red Sox have been involved in very few slugfests of this nature all season. Kason Gabbard looked strong for the first four innings, allowing just a home run to Franklin Gutierrez. The Red Sox staked him to a 9-1 lead, but the wheels came off in the fifth, and Gabbard came up one out short of going the necessary five innings for the win. Julian Tavarez came in to get the last out in the fifth, and did a nice job getting the game to the late innings in his first relief outing since being sent to the pen. He deserved a better fate in the seventh, as a Julio Lugo error to start the inning led to four runs.
It looks possible that Gabbard may be odd man out when Curt Schilling returns to the Red Sox, and it looks like that might happen on the Red Sox next trek out to the West Coast. Schilling had a terrific rehab outing at Toledo for Pawtucket, pitching five innings, striking out eight and allowing just two hits. He said after the game that he will have one more outing for the PawSox before he's reactivated. Gabbard's done a really nice job overall, and can be very valuable to the Red Sox in the September stretch run.