Terry Francona has managed enough games in Fenway Park to know the odd angles and configurations of the ballpark can lead to some crazy outcomes.
Francona witnessed another, this time from the visitor’s dugout as Cleveland’s manager in a 7-4 loss to Boston on Saturday.
The Red Sox trailed 4-3 entering the inning before a pair of doubles bounced high off the Green Monster in left field, then a gust of wind seemed to guide a routine pop fly to a safe landing, allowing two more runs to score for Boston.
“There were a couple of balls that were Fenway fly balls. I think the wind plays a factor and the wall. There’s a lot of things going on out there. That’s just a part of this ballpark,” said Francona, who spent eight seasons as Boston’s manager and guided the Red Sox to a pair of World Series championships.
Reliever Vinnie Pestano (1-1) took over in the bottom of the eighth with the Indians leading 4-3. Pedro Ciriaco doubled with one out, then Pestano struck out Jacoby Ellsbury for the second out. Pinch-hitter Mike Carp came to the plate and hit the first pitch he saw for a high fly off the Green Monster, tying the game at 4.
Dustin Pedroia followed with another double off The Wall with two outs to give Boston its first lead of the game, and the Red Sox added two more on Daniel Nava’s wind-aided bloop single with the bases loaded.
“Off the bat I thought it was mine all the way,” left fielder Michael Brantley said. “I thought it was going to come right to me. The way the wind took it — it took it all the way back toward second base.”
Junichi Tazawa (4-2) struck out two in a hitless eighth and Andrew Bailey got three outs for his sixth save in seven chances.
Boston starter Jon Lester struck out a season-high eight in seven innings. He also hit a batter as Cleveland scored twice to take a 3-1 lead in the third, then threw a costly wild pitch in the seventh.
Mike Aviles and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back singles in the seventh, then Lester allowed the go-ahead run with a wild pitch to Mark Reynolds that skipped past catcher David Ross. Lester ended up striking out Reynolds, but Cleveland had regained the lead at 4-3.
“We scratched and clawed to get four. We just couldn’t make it stand up,” Francona said.
Cabrera had three hits, stole two bases, drove in a run and scored another for the Indians, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Nick Swisher added an RBI double and Carlos Santana a run-scoring single.
Scott Kazmir pitched five innings and struck out six for Cleveland. He gave up two runs, five hits and four walks.
Ciriaco had an RBI single in the second and Jonny Gomes’ sacrifice fly tied it at 3 in the sixth after an error by third baseman Reynolds.