CLEVELAND (AP) -- Josh Bard could have used a fishing net or a
spear, maybe even a shotgun. Anything to help in his hunt for Tim
Wakefield's levitating knuckleballs would have been helpful.
Cliff Lee gave Cleveland's banged-up bullpen some needed rest,
Jhonny Peralta hit a three-run homer and the Indians scored two
unearned runs on passed balls by Bard in a 7-1 win over the Red Sox
on Wednesday night.
"I missed them, it's that simple," said Bard, who had four
passed balls has been charged with 10 in his first season catching
Wakefield. "I don't know what else to say. I just didn't catch
Lee (2-1) allowed one run and four hits in six innings, helping
the Indians end a three-game losing streak and win for just the
fifth time in 14 games.
The left-hander's quality start was only the second in eight
games for Cleveland's staff, which has three relievers on the
disabled list and is still waiting for ace C.C. Sabathia to get
back from the DL.
"It's a big win," Lee said. "They've got a good lineup. To
hold them to one run in six innings is pretty good."
Wily Mo Pena homered for Boston, which lost for the first time
in seven games at Jacobs Field.
The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the first on Peralta's homer off
Wakefield (1-4), and they were also helped by Bard, who spent the
night digging Wakefield's pitches out of the dirt or chasing them
back to the screen.
Wakefield's dancing, dipping and dangling knuckleball has been
giving Bard fits all year. In just six games, he already has more
passed balls than he had in his previous 156 games over four major
"I told Josh to keep his head up," said Wakefield, who gave up
three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. "I know those balls he
missed came back to haunt us. I'm not disappointed in him at all.
"He's not the reason we're losing -- I am," said Wakefield, who
grew tiresome of the line of questioning. "So get off him."
With that, Wakefield ended the interview.
Cleveland also took advantage of Wakefield's soft tosses,
stealing three bases to match their season total through 20 games.
Lee pitched in and out of trouble in the third, when he gave up
his first hit -- a soft single to Bard -- and walked two to load the
bases with two outs. He quickly went 0-2 on David Ortiz before just
missing twice on the outside corner. Lee then struck out Boston's
big slugger, fooling Ortiz with an inside fastball.
"I missed with my location on that one," said Lee, who was
trying to nip the corner again. "I got lucky there."
Lee wasn't so fortunate an inning later as Pena drove his second
homer over the wall in right-center.
But the Indians got the run back in the bottom of the inning
when Bard had two passed balls, the second allowing Victor Martinez
to score from third.
Boston manager Terry Francona remains supportive of Bard, who
was traded to the Red Sox from Cleveland in January.
"It's not fun to sit through," Francona said. "I know it's
not fun for Bard. But he's working as hard as he can. I don't want
him to beat himself up."
Bard's fourth passed ball set up Cleveland's fifth run. Martinez
singled to open the sixth, moved up when Bard fanned on an inside
pitch and Aaron Boone hit a two-out RBI double to make it 5-1.
Boone and Casey Blake added run-scoring singles in the eighth.
Peralta snapped an 0-for-12 slump with his three-run shot in the
first off Wakefield, who threw Cleveland's shortstop a fastball.
"I got a big surprise," Peralta said, "and I hit it good."
Jason Larocque, Boston's bullpen catcher, was released from
a hospital after being struck in the back of the head with a home
run hit during batting practice. A team spokesman said Larocque had
a stiff neck but was otherwise fine. ... Eleven years later, a
glass pyramid trophy awarded to former Indians pitcher Orel
Hershiser for winning the 1995 ALCS MVP was finally returned to the
right-hander. Hershiser had forgotten about it after allowing the
team to display the award in its gift shop. Hershiser did color
commentary for the game on ESPN. ... Wickman remains one save shy
of tying Doug Jones' club career mark of 129. ... Despite the loss,
the Red Sox are 11-5 at the Jake since 2002. ... Sabathia planned
to make a rehab start Thursday at Triple-A Buffalo. He has been
sidelined since straining an oblique muscle on opening day. Without
a setback, he will start next week against Chicago or Oakland. ...
The Indians stole three bases in a game three times last season.