In the eighth inning, with the Indians leading 5-1, Tribe radio announcer Tom Hamilton noted that a four run lead didn’t feel like much when facing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
He was right. An inning later, closer Chris Perez was what Indians fans have sadly come to expect–wild at times, and if not, extraordinarily hittable.
It would’ve been tough to predict that Perez would throw himself into an injury and Joe Smith would picked up the blown save.
But that’s what happened on Sunday night in Fenway–with two outs and two runs already in, Perez loaded the bases and was pulled with an arm injury on a 2-1 count to Jacoby Ellsbury. Joe Smith had watched the disastrous inning from the bullpen, and when Tribe skipper Terry Francona called on him to close out the game, he hesitated to leave.
Smith warmed up entirely in the bullpen, trotted to the mound, served up a two-run, game-ending double to Ellsbury, and that was it.
Perez threw 31 pitches, just 14 for strikes, surrendering four earned runs on two hits and three walks. His ERA ballooned to 4.32.
As of Sunday night, it was unclear as to whether Perez’s shoulder, which knocked him out of the game and has troubled him throughout the season, would cause him to go on the disabled list.
The Indians got on the board in the first on a two-out, two-run single from Carlos Santana off Boston starter Felix Doubront.
Tribe starter Corey Kluber threw his third straight quality start, giving up just a single earned run in 6 2/3 innings. Kluber struckout a career high 10, besting his start against Detroit last week where he set a then-career high eight batters.
But on Sunday, it was all for naught. The Red Sox moved to within three in the eighth inning after Stephen Drew tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly.
In the ninth, Perez walked Dustin Pedroia to start the inning and gave up a rope double to deep center field to David Ortiz.
Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with consecutive RBI-groundouts to clear the bases but pull Boston to within a run.
Jonny Gomes walked and Drew singled him to third. Drew would then steal second as Jose Iglesias walked to load the bases.
Perez had been struggling with command all inning, having pitched in his first game since May 20. After falling behind 2-1 to Ellsbury, Smith came in and threw just one pitch–a double to the wall in left field to end the game.
The Indians head to Cincinnati for an afternoon Memorial Day game against the Reds. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m.
Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 6.04 ERA) will face off against the Reds’ Mike Leake (4-2, 3.25 ERA).
AL Central Scores for Sunday, May 26
Minnesota Twins @ Detroit Tigers: 6-1
Cleveland Indians @ Boston Red Sox: 6-5
Los Angeles Angels @ Kansas City Royals: 5-2
Miami Marlins @ Chicago White Sox: 5-3
AL Central Standings for May 27, 2013
Detroit Tigers:…….…28-20….0.0 games back
Cleveland Indians…….27-22….1.5 games back
Chicago White Sox:….24-24….4.0 games back
Kansas City Royals:…21-26…6.5 games back
Minnesota Twins:……19-28…..8.5 games back
AL Central Schedule for Monday, May 27
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Detroit Tigers – 1:08 p.m.
Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds – 1:10 p.m.
Minnesota Twins @ Milwaukee Brewers – 2:10 p.m.
St. Louis Cardinals @ Kansas City Royals – 2:10 p.m.
Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox – 7:10 p.m.
All times in eastern standard.
Subscribe to the Cleveland Indians Examiner for game recaps, series previews, news and other Indians info to receive e-mail updates every time a new article is published. Follow on Twitter @tylerjoelb.
Got a question about the Tribe or baseball? E-mail at email@example.com. I will post all questions and answer them on the Cleveland Indians Examiner.
Should Chris Perez remain the Tribe’s closer? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section!