Covering the Bases: Game 31

Final:

Indians 8, Red Sox 3

FIRST: Derek Lowe continued his early-season renaissance against his former club, spinning six solid innings on Thursday at Fenway Park. Lowe gave up two runs on nine hits, ending with three strikeouts, one walk and 13 outs via grounders. His pitch count climbed to 107, forcing him out after six, but Lowe provided another quality start.

On the year, the 38-year-old Lowe is 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA.

Then there was Josh Beckett, making his first start for Boston since GolfGate. The righty was chased after 2.1 IP in light of giving up seven runs on seven hits, including home runs to Jack Hannahan and Jason Kipnis. Walking off the field, Beckett was booed loudly by the Fenway faithful.

Lowe was asked if it was the worst reaction he’s heard at Fenway. At that, the pitcher let out a chuckle.

“Until they have to stop the game,” he said with a smile, pausing before continuing with his tale. “I was telling a couple guys, I remember in ’01, I was closing. I blew a three-run game in like literally 30 seconds and it happened to be they gave out my posters that day. Well, they turned into airplanes really fast.

There was a 10-minute delay. They stopped the game. The whole nine yards. I sat in the clubhouse until 2 o’clock and I’d stick my head out to see if I could leave yet, and they would still be standing there saying, ‘ I see you in there!’ Yeah, so no, I’ve seen worse. It’s happened to me.

“When you play here, you understand that’s part of it. If you go out there and probably don’t pitch the way you would like, they’re going to let you know about it. … They folded them into airplanes and launched them back onto the ol’ ball diamond. They had bonfires outside. So, yeah, I’ve seen way worse.”

SECOND: Kipnis loves him some Fenway Park. In five career games in the Back Bay, all the young second baseman has done is go 7-for-21 with one double, four home runs and four RBIs. He homered in three straight games in Boston last year as part of a run of four straight games with a home run. “I definitely like playing here,” Kipnis said.

THIRD: Say what you will about Johnny Damon (and I know a lot of fans have had plenty to say about his poor start with the Tribe), but one thing he has done is help the Indians lengthen out their lineup. Michael Brantley has looked great in the seventh spot (he went 4-for-4 on Thursday) and Hannahan is a sound threat in the nine hole. That’s a strong lower third to help set the table for the top of the lineup.

HOME: Vinnie Pestano labored through a 41-pitch eighth inning, but no harm done. He allowed no runs on no hits (we’ll just ignore those three walks). Mixed in, though, was a strikeout against Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That gave Pestano at least one strikeout in each of his first 16 appearances this season. That, folks, is a new mark by an Indians reliever to start a season, dating back to 1918.

Longest strikeout streak by Indians reliever to start a season (since 1918):
1. Vinnie Pestano, 16 — April 5-May 10, 2012
2. Doug Jones, 15 — April 6-July 11, 1987
Longest strikeout streak by an Indians reliever (since 1918):
1. Paul Shuey, 21 — Aug. 20, 1999-April 10, 2000
2. Vinnie Pestano, 18 — Sept. 25, 2011-May 10, 2012
2. Paul Shuey, 18 — Aug. 25, 1998-April 12, 1999
2. Dan Spillner, 18 — Sept. 18, 1981-May 11, 1982
On deck:
Indians (18-13) at Red Sox (12-19)
at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Fenway Park
–JB

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