(The Sports Xchange) – The Cleveland Indians belted three home runs in the span of four batters in the third inning and got 4-1/3 innings of quality work from their bullpen to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday.
Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor all homered in a three-run third inning off Boston starter Rick Porcello, turning a 2-1 Boston lead into a 4-2 Cleveland advantage.
Neither starter got very deep into the game. Porcello pitched 4-1/3 innings of five-run ball, and Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer gave up three runs in 4-/3 innings.
However, the Cleveland bullpen was able to preserve the lead. Andrew Miller (1-0) relieved Bauer in the fifth inning and calmed things down for the Indians.
Miller, acquired from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out four.
Bryan Shaw gave up a home run to Brock Holt leading off the eighth inning, cutting Cleveland’s lead to 5-4.
After Shaw retired Mookie Betts for the first out, and with David Ortiz walking to the plate, Indians manager Terry Francona called for closer Cody Allen.
Ortiz lined a double to center field and was replaced by pinch runner Marco Hernandez, who went to third on a groundout by Hanley Ramirez.
Allen struck out Xander Bogaerts to end the inning and while he allowed a single in the ninth, got three more strikeouts to end the game.
Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also hit solo home runs for the Red Sox. The teams combined for six home runs.
Holt and Kipnis each had three hits.
Bauer, who was Cleveland’s starter only because Corey Kluber was giving a strained groin an extra day of rest, got off to a bumpy start, giving up a single and two doubles to the first five batters he faced.
Dustin Pedroia led off the game with a double into the right field corner.
Holt then lined a single to right, moving Pedroia to third. Bauer retired the next two batters, but Hanley Ramirez ripped a double into the gap in left-center field. Pedroia scored on the hit, and Holt appeared to score as well.
After being ruled safe, the Indians challenged the call, which was reversed, ending the inning.
The Indians tied it with a run in the second inning which began with a double by Jose Ramirez, who was driven in by Lonnie Chisenhall’s single.
Chisenhall tried to advance to second and was called safe, but that call was also reversed after review.
The 1-1 tie did not last long. Benintendi, leading off the top of the third, hit a 3-1 pitch from Bauer into the seats in right field to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
The Indians answered with a three-homer bottom of the third off Porcello. Perez led off the inning by slamming a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall for an opposite field home run.
Kipnis hit an 0-1 pitch over the right field wall to give Cleveland a 3-2 lead. Lindor followed that with another booming home run into the seats in right field to make it 4-2.
The home run derby continued in the fifth inning. Leon hit Bauer’s 3-2 pitch into the seats in right to cut the Cleveland lead to 4-3.
Porcello was removed from the game after Perez led off the bottom of the fifth with a single, then went to second on a fly out to left by Carlos Santana.
Drew Pomeranz relieved Porcello (0-1), and Kipnis lined the second pitch from Porcello into center field for a single, scoring Perez and giving the Indians a 5-3 lead.
The 4 1/3-inning outing was Porcello’s shortest of the year. He allowed six hits and no walks, and he struck out six.