Saturday, November 5, 2011

Memorable Game #1: Indians Sweep Sox 1-0

Fausto Carmona was roughed up (to say the least) by the Chicago White Sox in his first start of the year. He was pounded for 10R/10ER on 11 hits in just 3 innings of work while striking out 5 and walking 1. (Interesting to note, Carmona finished the year with a 5.25 ERA but 0.4 runs less at 4.85 without this game).  After a busy offseason which included signing Carl Crawford away from the Tampa Bay Rays, trading for Adrian Gonzalez, and getting healthy returns from Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Josh Beckett the Red Sox were picked by many to represent the AL in the World Series. The Indians had taken the first two games of the series and were looking for the series sweep on a Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field.

Carmona went 7 dominant shutout innings allowing 2 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. Jon Lester matched him with 7 shutout innings on 3 hits while striking out 9 and walking 3. 

The Indians only real threat off of Jon Lester came in the 7th inning when after Shelly Duncan led off with a double Austin Kearns (on his own) attempted a sacrifice bunt but popped out to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. In 3,291 career at-bats Kearns had attempted 1 sacrifice bunt! (2006 with Washington!).

Said Indians Manager Manny Acat after the game:
 “Austin did that on his own,” said Acta of the bunt. “He felt uncomfortable against that guy (Lester), and he felt the best way for him to move the runner to third was to bunt. Ideally you’d like him to swing away there, but he didn’t feel like he could move the runner that way, so he bunted. I understand that.”
In a scoreless tie Manny Acta turned to Chad Durbin to open the 8th. He retired Jarrod Saltalamacchia  for the first out before allowing a single to Marco Scutaro and walking Jacoby Ellsbury. Rafael Perez relieved Durbin and retired Carl Crawford on a groundout but runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd with 2-out. Perez ending the Red Sox threat by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground out to first baseman Matt Laporta.

Terry Francona turned to Daniel Bard to work the bottom of the eighth inning and he issued the dreaded lead off walk to light hitting Adam Everett. After Bard threw two balls to Orlando Cabrera Manny Acta gave Adam Everett the steal sign and on the next pitch he stole second base. On the next pitch Cabrera successfully sacrificed Everett to third to bring Asdrubal Cabrera to the plate. With the count in his favor 2-1 Asdrubal laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to push across the Indians lone run of the afternoon.

With a 1-0 lead and the game on the line Manny Acta called on Chris Perez to shut the door. The Red Sox were desperately trying to avoid their first 0-6 start since 1946 and looked to have a rally started after a 2-out walk to David Ortiz who was pinch run for by Darnell MacDonald. J.D. Drew lined a single off the leg of Chris Perez but the ball went to Adam Everett at 3b who saw that Darnell MacDonald had rounded 2b and threw back to Orlando Cabrera at 2b. To make matters worse for MacDonald he slipped on his way back into second and was tagged out for the final out of the game.

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