Manager Manny Acta found it difficult to explain the Cleveland Indians ' dismal losing streak, which finally ended one defeat short of tying the franchise record.
The Boston Red Sox are also searching for answers.
The Red Sox look to avoid a third straight loss Thursday night as they open a crucial 10-game road trip with the first of four in Cleveland.
The Indians (51-60) fell out of contention in the AL Central during an 11-game skid, but they avoided matching the franchise record - set in 1931 - thanks to Wednesday's 6-2 win over Minnesota.
"You feel helpless at times because you have very little control of a lot of things," Acta said. "I had never seen anything like this before and I hope I never see it (again)."
Shin-Soo Choo, who went 4 for 4 with two RBIs Wednesday, knows the Indians have to turn things around drastically to get back into the postseason chase, but he said they're not giving up hope.
"I know we had an 11-game losing streak and we have a long way to go, but baseball's never over," Choo told the team's official website. "A lot can happen in baseball. We showed that in the last 11 games."
Justin Masterson pitched seven solid innings Wednesday, a welcome performance for a starting rotation that had a 10.44 ERA during the losing streak.
"Pitching got us into this mess and pitching got us out of it," Acta said.
Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29 ERA) has been part of the problem, and his struggles extend well beyond the skid. He hasn't won since before the All-Star break - beating Tampa Bay on July 7 - and he's 0-4 with an 8.42 ERA in his last five starts.
The right-hander gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-1 loss at Detroit on Saturday, although he's probably happy to be back home. He has a 3.28 ERA in nine starts in Cleveland as opposed to a 6.94 ERA in 13 road outings, including each of his last four losses.
Jimenez can't be thrilled to face the Red Sox. He allowed seven runs and walked five in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Boston on May 11, and in his only other start against the Red Sox yielded six runs in 5 2-3 innings June 23, 2010, while pitching for Colorado.
Boston (55-57) has dropped six of its last eight after Wednesday's wild 10-9 loss to Texas. Adrian Gonzalez had three doubles and three RBIs and Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run homer for the second straight day, but that wasn't enough offense for the beleaguered Josh Beckett .
Pitching continues to be a major problem for the Red Sox, who have a 5.62 staff ERA over their last 19 games, a 7-12 stretch.
"Any loss at this point is tough," second baseman Dustin Pedroia told the Red Sox's official website. "We have to try to find a way to turn the page and have a great road trip."
Doubront (10-5, 4.56) gave up five runs in five innings of Boston's 6-5, 10-inning loss to Minnesota on Friday, and he's 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA and 12 walks in 16 1-3 innings over his last three starts.
The left-hander allowed one run and three hits in six innings of a 4-1 win over Cleveland on May 12 in his only career start versus the Indians, who are a major league-worst 11-24 against southpaw starters this year.
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 06, 2012||Vicente Padilla||15-Day DL||Strained right biceps|
|July 31, 2012||Ryan Sweeney||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|July 31, 2012||Josh Beckett||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
|July 29, 2012||Daniel Nava||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|July 21, 2012||Mike Aviles||Day-to-Day||Turf toe|
|July 17, 2012||David Ortiz||15-Day DL||Right Achilles strain|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||Day-to-Day||Back soreness|
|June 30, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||60-Day DL||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 29, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||Day-to-Day||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 05, 2012||Jose Lopez||Day-to-Day||Sore lower back|
|May 27, 2012||Jack Hannahan||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 27, 2012||Jack Hannahan||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Ubaldo Jimenez finally showed the kind of command the Cleveland Indians want to see.
Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 for his first win in more than a month and the Indians beat Boston 5-3 on Thursday night, handing the Red Sox their seventh loss in nine games.
The performance came too late, however, to save the job of pitching coach Scott Radinsky , who had worked with the talented but erratic right-hander all season. Radinsky was fired by the Indians earlier in the day.
"A great job by Ubaldo," manager Manny Acta said. "That was probably his best command of the fastball. He was just dotting it on both sides."
Jimenez (9-11) allowed three runs over six innings as Cleveland won its second straight after losing 11 in a row. He had been 0-4 with an 8.41 ERA in five starts since beating Tampa Bay on July 7.
"This was the best for me," Jimenez said. "I threw the breaking ball for strikes as well as the fastball."
Jason Donald hit a leadoff homer off Felix Doubront (10-6) and drove in two runs for the Indians, who took a 4-3 lead with a three-run fifth.
Chris Perez earned his 30th save in 34 chances. He pitched a perfect ninth after blowing saves Sunday and Tuesday, allowing eight runs over 1 1-3 innings in those two appearances.
It was Perez's first clean-shaven outing of the season. The All-Star closer cut off his scraggly beard before Wednesday's game, when Cleveland beat Minnesota to end its losing streak.
"It looked like we forgot how to play ball," Perez said of the embarrassing slide. "We want to win more than anybody, but everybody went into a slump together.
"We're 2-0 since I shaved, though. Baseball is a game of adjustments. I had to do something."
Asked to assess how Perez looked, Acta quipped: "Very white. He needs a suntan now."
Cleveland improved to 24-13 in series openers, second to the New York Yankees ' 24-12.
It wasn't how the Red Sox wanted to open a 10-game trip that includes three-game series against AL East rivals Baltimore and New York.
Boston ran itself into a double play in the seventh. With one out and Pedro Ciriaco on second, Carl Crawford grounded a pitch from reliever Tony Sipp to shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it and threw to third, putting Ciriaco in a rundown. Cabrera took third baseman Brent Lillibridge 's return throw, tagged Ciriaco, then whirled and threw to second to nail Crawford, too.
"Pedro was a little overaggressive there," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "The ball was hit real hard. His first move was to score."
Jimenez leads the AL with 77 walks, but the only free pass he issued Thursday was to the first batter of the game, Jacoby Ellsbury .
"He was throwing the ball on the outside corner or wherever the heck it was," Valentine said. "He was getting every pitch called a strike. That's what I saw."
Jimenez credited Radinsky with patiently and persistently working to smooth out his delivery.
"I'm going to be always grateful for what he did for me," Jimenez said. "He did all he could to help. He's going to be a good pitching coach (somewhere) for a long time."
Donald homered on the third pitch he saw from Doubront after being recalled from Triple-A Columbus when designated hitter Travis Hafner went on the disabled list with lower back inflammation. Donald was a late lineup replacement for second baseman Jason Kipnis , scratched with a sore neck.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the Boston fourth. Half of Gonzalez's six career hits off Jimenez have been homers. He was 5 for 28 against the right-hander before pulling a 1-1 pitch to right.
Dustin Pedroia 's RBI single made it 3-1 in the fifth. Ellsbury singled and got in scoring position by stealing second - his third steal of the game. Opponents are 30 for 34 stealing against Jimenez's deliberate delivery.
The Indians went back in front in the bottom half. They tied it at 3 on an RBI double by Cabrera and Carlos Santana 's run-scoring single. Andrew Miller came on with the bases loaded and yielded a go-ahead sacrifice fly to Michael Brantley .
Donald's RBI grounder in the eighth made it 5-3.
NOTES: Indians RHP Joe Smith termed Radinsky's firing "a shock, but the business side of baseball." ... Boston DH David Ortiz , out since July 18 with a sore heel, is slated to run the bases Friday. He could be activated Sunday. ... Valentine said RHP Josh Beckett felt no discomfort in his back or shoulder Wednesday when he allowed eight runs in five innings to Texas in his first start since July 31. ... Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez is scheduled to start Friday for Columbus. His three-week suspension for playing under the false name of Fausto Carmona ends Saturday. ... Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey (thumb surgery) struck out two in a scoreless inning during a rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket. Bailey, acquired from Oakland in the offseason to be Boston's closer, has been out since spring training.