The Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox's respective slumps are both due in large part to their struggles from the mound. However, both are hoping things will start turning around soon.
The Indians will try to win their third straight Friday night when they face Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox.
After losing 11 straight while being outscored 95-36, Cleveland has won back-to-back games after opening this series with a 5-3 victory Thursday.
That came after the Indians (52-60) announced they had fired pitching coach Scott Radinsky .
"It's not a decision we arrived at lightly," general manager Chris Antonetti told the team's official website. "In the end, we felt that we had reached that point where we needed to go in a different direction."
Ironically, Cleveland's pitching is largely responsible for the last two victories. On Thursday, Ubaldo Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 in six-plus innings for his first win in more than a month.
"The last two weeks have been really tough," Jimenez said. "Getting a couple wins in a row means a lot."
Cleveland hasn't won three straight since July 3-5 and extending its current run could be difficult against Buchholz (9-3, 4.48 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his last four starts.
The right-hander was in position to win last Saturday against Minnesota after giving up one unearned run in seven innings, but Boston suffered a 6-4 loss.
"I mean, it's not about me getting the win - it's about the team win," he said. "Things happen where one-run leads, they don't hold up all the time."
Buchholz is 1-1 with a 5.32 ERA in four starts against the Indians. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-5 victory on May 11.
He takes the mound for the struggling Red Sox (55-58), who have lost three straight and seven of nine.
Adrian Gonzalez , batting .469 over his last 13 games, hit a two-run homer, but the Red Sox went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
"A lot of things I thought didn't work out tonight, but they will (Friday)," manager Bobby Valentine said.
Like the Indians, the Red Sox's pitching staff has stumbled. The starters are 3-10 with a 5.82 ERA over the last 20 games, which Boston is 7-13 in.
The Red Sox will try to provide some support for Buchholz against Chris Seddon (0-0, 7.71), who is making his second start of the season.
Seddon gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 10-8, 10-inning loss to Detroit on Sunday.
The left-hander also made a relief appearance Tuesday, retiring the one batter he faced on one pitch.
Seddon is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA as a starter for three different teams. He faced the Red Sox three times as a reliever in 2010 with Seattle, pitching 4 2-3 hitless innings.
|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|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|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|
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Clay Buchholz gave the Boston Red Sox a quick cure with a two-hit, complete-game victory.
Buchholz pitched a two-hitter, Cody Ross hit a two-run homer, and the Red Sox broke a three-game losing streak by beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Friday night.
But this win didn't come without a cost for the Red Sox as hot-hitting rookie Will Middlebrooks was sent for X-rays after being hit by a pitch.
Middlebrooks was hurt after Ross hit a two-run homer to support Buchholz's masterful effort. Boston had already done enough to secure the victory.
"Just what the doctor ordered," manager Bobby Valentine said of Buchholz's performance. "He was terrific. He was excellent. He was in control the whole way."
Middlebrooks left in the ninth after being struck in the right wrist by Esmil Rogers . Valentine hopes the third baseman, batting .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs, isn't lost for long.
"He got hit pretty good," Valentine said. "He was in a lot of pain. I don't think he's in there (Saturday). I was hoping it got more meat, but it was straight on the bone."
Buchholz (10-3) gave up one earned run in his second complete game this season and fifth of his career. The right-hander improved to 8-2 in 17 starts following a loss the last two years.
"Everybody wants to win every night," Buchholz said of being a skid stopper. "When you do it, sure it feels good."
Ross broke a 1-1 tie with a 420-foot shot over the wall in center field off Chris Seddon (0-1) in the sixth.
Asdrubal Cabrera had both Cleveland hits, including his 13th homer, but the Indians had their two-game winning streak broken and lost for the 12th time in 14 games.
"That's the best I've seen a guy against us, and we've seen some pretty good pitching this year," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We couldn't do anything. He was way too good mixing his pitches."
Buchholz said he threw two types of changeups, a curve, and spotted his fastball on both sides of the plate.
He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in five consecutive starts, the longest streak by a Boston starter since Tim Wakefield did it six times in a row in 2002. Buchholz didn't get a decision in three of those outings, however.
The right-hander gave up Cabrera's one-out homer in the first and an unearned run in the sixth. He struck out six, walked none, and moved to 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 11 starts since May 27.
The Red Sox tied it at 1 with an unearned run in the fourth. Mike Aviles drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw by Seddon. Dustin Pedroia singled Aviles home.
The Indians twice robbed Jacoby Ellsbury of potential hits as they preserved the 1-1 tie. In the fourth, left fielder Ezequiel Carrera dove to his left to snag a line drive hit by Ellsbury in the left-center gap. In the fifth, center fielder Michael Brantley raced in and slid along his stomach to take away a potential bloop hit.
Pedroia singled with one out in the sixth. One out later, Ross connected for his 18th homer that made it 3-1.
"It was a slider," Seddon said. "I should have bounced it. I didn't bounce it and he hit it."
Cleveland got an unearned run in the bottom half. Jason Donald reached third as Boston made two errors on his leadoff grounder up the middle. Pedroia got in front of the ball, which skipped off his glove.
The shortstop Aviles tracked down the ball in short center, and threw to first as Donald made a wide turn with the idea of trying for second. He ended up walking to third when Aviles' throw bounced over the Boston dugout.
Donald scored on Carrera's sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
Seddon allowed five hits and two earned runs in six innings in his second start since Cleveland purchased the left-hander's contract from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 5.
NOTES: Boston LHP Felix Doubront will miss his next start, and RHP Aaron Cook will start Wednesday against Baltimore. Valentine said Doubront's velocity has been down, and he might be helped by skipping a start. ... OF Scott Podsednik , signed by Boston before the game, started in left. He was traded to Arizona on July 31, but was released after declining an assignment to the minors. ... OF Ryan Sweeney (broken hand) was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Podsednik on the 40-man roster. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner , on the DL with a bulging disc in his back, had an injection to relieve inflammation. There is no timetable for his return. ... Cleveland released ex-Boston RHP Derek Lowe , who had been designated for assignment on Aug. 2. ... Valentine said DH David Ortiz (sore heel) likely won't be healthy enough to be activated Sunday. ... Red Sox RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (back) gave up two runs over 4 2-3 innings in a rehab start at Triple-A Pawtucket.