Red Sox rally to beat Indians in 10th
Jonathan Van Every couldn't have written a better script for his first major league home run.
Boston's backup outfielder homered with two outs in the 10th inning, lifting the Red Sox to a 6-5, comeback win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
"This has got to be the top so far in my career," said Van Every, who played in the Indians' minor league system from 2000-07. "It's definitely a special day. I spent seven years of my career trying to figure out a way to get to this point. Luckily I'm here. It couldn't have happened at a better time."
Van Every hit a 1-1 pitch from Jensen Lewis (2-3) to center field. Van Every, who had one plate appearance this season coming in, got his first of the season - an RBI single - during Boston's three-run rally in the eighth that was aided by third baseman Mark DeRosa's error.
Hideki Okajima (2-0) worked the ninth for the win. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the 10th for his sixth save in six opportunities.
The Red Sox have won 12 of 13.
Van Every, a left-handed hitter, began the season on the disabled list with a sprained ankle and was activated April 24. He signed with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent following the 2007 season and played in 17 games with Boston last season. Van Every started in right field because J.D. Drew has been bothered by a sore quad.
Lewis and Van Every were teammates at various times and even roomed together occasionally.
"I've been around for a while," the 29-year-old Van Every said. "I know most of that team over there. I played with them coming up through the system. I made all the stops."
Lewis also allowed Jacoby Ellsbury's tying single in the eighth when Boston scored three times.
"It was a changeup down the middle," Lewis said of the home run. "Judging by his swing, it looked like he was sitting on it."
Van Every said: "I hit it good. It's all the power I've got."
"He was smiling ear to ear," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "That was a good win. I think I'm probably understating it a little bit."
The loss capped a bad day for the Indians, who placed designated hitter Travis Hafner on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder. Hafner, who had surgery on the shoulder in October, is batting .270 with four homers and eight RBIs.
Cleveland led 5-2 going into the eighth, but a crucial fielding error by DeRosa helped Boston tie it at 5.
Rafael Betancourt retired Jason Bay to start the inning, but allowed singles to Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek. Jeff Bailey hit a grounder directly to DeRosa, but he misplayed the ball and the bases were loaded.
DeRosa offered no excuses for the misplay.
"It's a double-play ball," he said. "It has to be turned. Even if it isn't, you've got to get one out. The play has to be made."
Van Every then singled to right, making it 5-3. Lewis relieved and gave up an RBI fielder's choice to pinch-hitter Drew.
Ellsbury's single up the middle tied it, an at-bat that stuck out in Cleveland manager Eric Wedge's mind more than the home run by Van Every.
"That was the big one," Wedge said. "You can't let that happen late in a game."
DeRosa hit a solo homer in the second and Kelly Shoppach, starting at DH in place of Hafner, added a two-run homer in the fourth, helping the Indians build a 5-0 lead.
Fausto Carmona held Boston to two runs in 6 2-3 innings. He retired 12 straight batters between the second and sixth innings. Lowell, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, and Varitek had RBI doubles in the sixth.
Jon Lester gave up five runs in six innings.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis (sore back) and shortstop Julio Lugo (stiff knee) were also out of the starting lineup for Boston.
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a 47-pitch session before the game and reported no pain. He's scheduled o throw another bullpen session Saturday. ... RHP Adam Miller, the Indians' top pitching prospect, had reconstructive surgery on the middle finger on his right hand Tuesday in Baltimore. He will have additional surgery in three months and is expected to miss six to nine months following the second operation.