CLEVELAND (AP) — For the first time this season, a national TV audience finally experienced the Indians’ late-inning karma.
Funny enough, Cleveland’s manager watched it on the tube, too.
Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-out RBI double in the eighth inning — the latest big hit delivered by Cleveland’s shortstop — rallied the Indians to a slippery 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Monday night, another dramatic victory for a team that believes there is no deficit too big to overcome.
“We’re just going out and winning ballgames,” Indians starter Justin Masterson said. “It’s a different person every night. It’s been a lot of fun.”
With a steady rain falling, Cabrera, who went 5 for 5 with two homers and five RBIs on Sunday, drove his double off reliever Daniel Bard (1-4) to the wall in left field, scoring Michael Brantley and helping the Indians win their fourth straight and improve to 19-4 at home.
The win was the Indians’ eighth in their last at-bat at home this season.
“It’s kind of what we do,” Masterson said with a shrug.
Cabrera also homered in the fourth, and has nine hits in his last 11 at-bats.
Joe Smith (2-1) got one out in the eighth, and closer Chris Perez got out of a first-and-third situation in the ninth by getting Carl Crawford, one of the toughest players in baseball to double up, to bounce into a game-ending double play for his 13th save.
“Who would have thought that you would get a double play on Carl Crawford?” asked Indians manager Manny Acta, who had to watch the game on a TV adjacent to Cleveland’s dugout after being ejected in the eighth. “These guys always feel like they have a chance to win.”
Trailing 2-1 and being held in check by Boston starter Clay Buchholz, the Indians came up with another does of late-inning magic.
They tied it when Jack Hannahan singled, pinch-runner Adam Everett moved up on a groundout and scored on Brantley’s two-out RBI single off Bard. The Indians then took the lead on Cabrera’s double.
Cleveland has continued to win despite not having two of its top players, Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, who are on the disabled list.
“We have to scratch and claw and do everything we can until those two big guys are back,” Acta said. “We need to hang in there.”
The loss could have been doubly costly for the Red Sox, but the team got a positive report afterward on All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who injured his left foot in the eighth and had to come out.
Pedroia hurt the foot he had surgery on in September when he fell over second base while trying to go to third in the eighth. He was rounding second on Adrian Gonzalez’s single to right when he slipped on the wet base and fell awkwardly. He scrambled on his belly back to the base safely. Pedroia laid with his face in the dirt as a team trainer and manager Terry Francona jogged out to check on the former AL MVP.
“It’s kind of like a stinger,” Pedroia said. “It took a little while to get the feeling back in my leg. It stinks, man.”
Francona will stick with his previous plan and have Pedroia sit out Tuesday.
Crawford homered for the Red Sox, who lost for just the second time in 10 games and missed a chance to move into first-place in the AL East.
Buchholz allowed just two runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings, but Bard couldn’t hold the Indians.
Boston was making its second visit to Cleveland this season. The Red Sox were swept in a three-game series in early April, dropping them to 0-6. But they’ve recovered from the awful start and are finally playing like the team many predicted would win it all in 2011.
Just not against the Indians.
A major, $142 million-over-seven-years disappointment so far with the Red Sox, Crawford snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth with just his second homer. He turned on a 1-1 pitch from Masterson, driving it over the wall in right for his first homer since April 27.
He had a chance to be a hero in the ninth, but Crawford hit a hard grounder right at second baseman Orlando Cabrera. He flipped it to Asdrubal Cabrera, who fired to first for the double play.
“He hit it right on the nose,” Francona said. “But it was in the one place they could turn a double play.”
As hot as any hitter in the game, Cabrera tied it 1-1 with his 10th homer. It was Cabrera’s seventh straight hit, four shy of the team record held by Hall of Famer Tris Speaker in 1920. Cabrera flied out in the sixth to end his streak.
The Red Sox went up 1-0 in the third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Pedroia.
NOTES: Gonzalez is just the fourth Red Sox player since 1920 to have at least
65 hits and 40 RBIs through the club’s first 40 games. The others: Ted
Williams (1948), Jim Rice (1978) and Manny Ramirez (2001). Gonzalez came
to Boston in a December trade from San Diego. “It’s nice to see it in
person,” Francona said. “You make a trade of that magnitude, you’ve got a
pretty good idea of what a guy can do, but when you see a really good
hitter in the midst of a good streak, it is fun to watch.” … The
Indians said Cabrera on Sunday joined Cincinnati’s Roy McMillan (1960)
as the only shortstops since 1946 to go 5 for 5 with two homers and five
RBIs in a game. Cabrera leads all AL shortstops in runs, hits, homers