Kelly Shoppach talks shop with Cliff Lee.
Cliff Lee didn't get a chance to pitch against Boston in last year's playoffs. He did Tuesday night, with the same results other Indians pitchers did in the 2007 postseason. The left-hander had a 4-2 lead going to the bottom of the fifth inning, allowed three runs and the Red Sox claimed another comeback win over the Indians, 5-4. That's how it was for Cleveland in the 2007 AL Championship Series.
This win clinched another postseason trip for the Red Sox. The Indians were long ago elimnated from playoff contention -- but not because of the stellar pitching all season by Lee.
Lee (22-3, 2.54 ERA) gave up nine hits and five runs over seven innings to lose for the first time since July 6.
The Indians' offense had a chance to rally and give Lee yet another win. Cleveland loaded the bases against rookie reliever Justin Masterson in the eighth. Kelly Shoppach (.265) drew a one-out walk and went to second on a two-out single by Josh Barfield (.143). Grady Sizemore (.271) then walked against lefty reliever Javier Lopez to load the bases, but Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon came on and got Jamey Carroll (.272) to ground out on the first pitch to end the threat.
Papelbon retired the side in the ninth on nine pitches for the save.
Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield pitched scoreless ball through the fourth. Lee matched the knuckleballer until giving up a leadoff double to David Ortiz in the fourth. Kevin Youkilis followed with his 27th homer for a 2-0 lead.
Cleveland came right back in the top of the fifth. Shoppach was hit by a pitch and went to second on a single by Franklin Gutierrez (.247). After Barfield struck out, Sizemore singled home Shoppach, then Gutierrez scored on a groundout by Carroll to tie it.
Shin-Soo Choo (.307) doubled in Sizemore, then scored on a double by Jhonny Peralta (.274) to make it 4-2.
But Dustin Pedroia had a two-run double in the bottom half and scored on a single by Jason Bay as Boston went ahead, 5-4.
Cleveland also loaded the bases in the seventh. With two outs, Victor Martinez (.272) fouled off two 3-2 pitches from Hideki Okajimi before finally fouling out to Youkilis at first base to end that chance, too.