CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Beckett picked up first regular-season win in Cleveland — where he pitched an October gem four years ago — to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 4-2 win Tuesday night over the Indians, who couldn’t quite muster another late-inning rally and lost for just the fifth time at home.
Beckett (4-1) allowed one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings for his only non-postseason win at Progressive Field. He won here in the 2007 ALCS, pitching eight dominant innings in Game 5 as the Red Sox kept their season alive and eventually won the series.
Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Fausto Carmona (3-5), and Jonathan Papelbon got his ninth save as the Red Sox continued to make up ground in the standings. They are a league-best 15-7 in May, and in the thick of the AL East race after an 0-6 start.
Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single for the Red Sox, who ended a five-game losing streak in Cleveland.
Travis Buck homered in the ninth for the Indians, who had their four-game winning streak stopped and were hurt by running into outs four times.
Cleveland, which dropped to 19-5 at home, had a runner thrown out at third to end the second; Varitek gunned down would-be base stealers at second in the third and fourth; and Matt LaPorta got doubled up off first for the final out in the fifth.
However, the bigger issue for the Indians was Beckett, whose only loss this season came in Cleveland on April 5. Since then, he’s 4-0 with five no-decisions in nine starts.
The right-hander was in complete control until giving up a two-out walk in the seventh. LaPorta followed with a hard single off third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ glove, and Cabrera hustled into third, sliding in just ahead of a tag by Youkilis.
Boston manager Terry Francona then pulled Beckett, who wasn’t thrilled about leaving. He kicked the grass and threw his gum before stepping down into the dugout. From there, he watched as Rich Hill struck out Jack Hannahan to end Cleveland’s threat.
Papelbon gave up Buck’s one-out homer in the ninth but was able to quiet the Indians, who have made a habit of winning close games at home.
Carmona pitched well, but is winless in his last four outings. He gave up four runs and five hits in eight innings.
The Red Sox played without All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The former league MVP took a planned day off, one night after hurting his left foot stumbling over second. He’s expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday.
Boston scored twice in the second off Carmona, who plunked Carl Crawford leading off. Crawford stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly. Gonzalez followed with a double, raising his major league-leading RBI total to 42.
He’s also an incredible 13 of 25 (.525) with two outs and a runner in scoring position.
Variek’s first homer in nearly a year made it 4-1.
David Ortiz doubled leading off, and with one out, Varitek lined his first homer in 69 at-bats this season just inside the right-field foul pole.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the second, and perhaps more importantly, were making Beckett work.
The right-hander threw 44 pitches to get his first six outs as Cleveland’s hitters had patient, prolonged at-bats against the league’s ERA leader.
Buck led off Cleveland’s second with an infield single and Beckett bounced a curveball off Orlando Cabrera’s helmet before striking out two. Rookie Ezequiel Carrera singled to bring in Buck who hustled home and hit the plate just before Cabrera got pegged at third.
Notes: Indians C Carlos Santana is in an 0-for-19 slump. … Indians CF Grady Sizemore will run the bases Wednesday, the final test for his bruised right knee before possibly being activated for Friday’s series opener in Tampa Bay. By the time he’s back, Sizemore will have missed 13 games. … Red Sox RHP Bobby Jenks (biceps strain) will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. Barring any setbacks, the rotund reliever will make a rehab appearance in the minors before being activated from the DL. Jenkins felt no soreness following a 25-pitch session Monday. … The Indians will activate RHP Mitch Talbot to start Wednesday. He has been out since April 17 with a sore right elbow.