Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jason Bay homer sends Boston Red Sox past Cleveland Indians

Jason Bay watched Kerry Wood's first fastball, a stitched, spinning blur, whiz past without taking a swing.

He watched the next one, too.

All the way into the bleachers.

Detroit's Curtis Granderson beats the throw from New York pitcher CC Sabathia to first baseman Mark Teixeira during the sixth inning Monday. The Central Division-leading Tigers won, 4-2, for their third straight victory.
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Bay took another star closer deep, hitting a three-run homer in the ninth inning off Wood as the Red Sox won their 11th straight, 3-1 over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

Down one strike, Bay pulled a 99-mph heater from Wood (0-1) into the left-field seats as Boston extended its longest winning streak since a 12-gamer in 2006.

"The guy throws like 100 miles an hour," Bay said. "You have to put it your mind to try and hit a mistake. I got a fastball up over the plate, and I didn't miss it."

Bay's third hit sent the Red Sox to another drama-filled win. They were coming off an emotional three-game sweep at Fenway Park over the rival New York Yankees, a series that began with Bay connecting for a two-run, two-out homer in the ninth off Mariano Rivera.

First Rivera. Now Wood. Bay's afraid he's going to end up on someone's hit list.

"There's going to be a bounty out on me," he said with a laugh.

In his last four games, Bay has nine hits with two homers and nine RBIs.

Wood replaced starter Cliff Lee, who shut out the Red Sox for eight innings, to start the ninth.

He walked Dustin Pedroia to open the ninth and gave up David Ortiz's bloop single to center before Bay pounced on a pitch Wood wishes he could have back.

"It was a matter of missing my spot," Wood said.

"Good hitters hit those pitches, bad hitters hit those pitches. Cliff shuts them down for 106 pitches, then I throw 12, and we're down 3-0. It's not good to waste a great performance by your ace pitcher.

"I didn't do my job."

Lee and Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield matched strikes and zeros for seven innings.

Lee went 22-3 last season with the last loss in Boston on Sept. 23. The left-hander, though, was in award-winning form, allowing five hits in eight innings. He walked none and struck out five.

"That was the Cy Young guy from last year," Bay said. "He was around the plate and getting outs with that fastball. The radar gun says 92-93, but he's got some life on it, and it plays a little bit harder than that."

The Indians have dropped six of eight.

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