Red Sox ride HRs, 3-hit pitching to win over Indians
CLEVELAND -- There was not much wiggle room, so Drew Pomeranz did not wiggle at all.
Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez homered, while Pomeranz and three Boston relievers dominated a depleted Cleveland lineup, combining on a three-hitter as the Red Sox beat the Indians 6-1 on Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
Moreland hit a solo home run off Corey Kluber in the fifth inning, and Nunez belted a two-run shot off Bryan Shaw in a four-run Boston ninth.
Cleveland’s run came on a home run by Edwin Encarnacion in the eighth inning off reliever Addison Reed.
Boston pitchers, for the second consecutive game, shut down an Indians lineup that was missing four regulars who are out with injuries, three of them on the disabled list.
In the past two games, Boston (73-53) has held Cleveland (69-56) to a total of two runs and four hits. On Tuesday night, Doug Fister pitched a one-hitter. On Wednesday night, Pomeranz got help from three relievers.
Pomeranz (13-4) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings and gave up two hits with nine strikeouts and four walks. Joe Kelly, Reed and Craig Kimbrel finished out the win.
“Pomeranz gave us more than we anticipated,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “On a night when there was no margin of error, going against Kluber, Drew was outstanding.”
Indians manager Terry Francona tipped his cap to Pomeranz, who was selected by Cleveland with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft. However, the lefty was traded away before he reached the big leagues.
“He was throwing his fastball up, getting it past our barrels, and had a very good curveball. He really gave us fits,” Francona said.
The hard-luck loser was Kluber (12-4), who pitched 7 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs and four hits (three infield singles), including Moreland’s home run. Kluber struck out 12 and walked one.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a battle and we would have to grind out at-bats,” Boston left fielder Brock Holt said. “Fortunately, we were able to do that, but he’s pretty good.”
The Indians are playing without left fielder Michael Brantley, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis, who are all on the DL. First baseman Carlos Santana also sat out Wednesday due to lower back tightness.
Francona won’t use the injuries as an excuse.
“Sometimes you don’t have everybody. That doesn’t mean you can’t win,” he said. “It just makes it more challenging. But we’re not going to back down. We’re going to keep fighting.”
Leading 1-0, Boston added a run in an eighth-inning rally that began with two outs and nobody on base.
Kluber, who was clearly running out of gas, walked Holt and hit Nunez with a pitch. Mookie Betts then hit a sharp grounder to third. Giovanny Urshela dived for the ball, but it glanced off his glove and rolled into the outfield as Holt scored to make it 2-0.
“We had good at-bats all night long against one of the best pitchers in baseball,” Farrell said.
Encarnacion’s 29th homer of the season came with two outs in the eighth on a 2-0 pitch from Reed.
In the ninth, Boston scored a run on a passed ball. Holt hit an RBI double, and Nunez followed two-run homer.
“Anytime you can score late like that, and put the other team away, it’s important,” Holt said. “Especially against this team, who we’re probably going to see in the postseason.”
Kluber retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced until the Red Sox broke the scoreless tie in the fifth when Moreland hit a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for his 15th home run of the season.
“I tried to throw a cutter in on him, but it got too much of the plate, and he took advantage of it,” Kluber said.
Farrell said, “Scoring one run off Kluber felt like an accomplishment.”
NOTES: Indians 2B Jason Kipnis was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. INF Erik Gonzalez was recalled from Triple-A Columbus. ... Cleveland 1B Carlos Santana missed his second consecutive game because of tightness in his lower back. He could be back in the lineup Thursday. ... Boston placed OF Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb and recalled INF Deven Marrero from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Boston acquired OF Rajai Davis in a trade with Oakland. The Red Sox sent minor league OF Rafael Rincones to the A’s and designated OF Steve Selsky for assignment. ... The Red Sox, who are last in the American League in home runs, have won 22 games this season without hitting a homer, the most in the majors. No other AL team has more than 15 such wins.