Cleveland (41-34) at Boston (44-32)

Fair Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 24° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Wed Jun 29, 2005
  • TV: ESPN, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Scott Elarton has emerged as quite a valuable member of the Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation.

The veteran right-hander will take the mound in search of his fifth straight win when the Indians try to complete a three-game sweep of the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Elarton, Cleveland’s fifth starter, is unbeaten in his last seven starts, going 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA. He did not receive a decision in the Indians’ 5-4 loss to Cincinnati on Friday after allowing three runs and seven hits over six innings while striking out a season-high seven.

Elarton was staked to an early 2-0 lead, but gave up a pair of solo homers in the second inning.

“That was my biggest frustration of the night,” Elarton said. “They gave me a 2-0 lead and I go out and give it up in three pitches. In the third inning, I gave it up again. That’s really frustrating.

“After that, I kinda pitched like I was a little mad.”

Elarton will be trying to outduel 38-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who has been nearly unhittable during his three-start unbeaten streak. The veteran right-hander has given up just one run over his last 23 innings. In an 8-0 victory at Philadelphia on Friday, Wakefield allowed two hits over eight innings, striking out six and walking two.

He has not given up a run in 15 innings over his last two starts.

“That’s as good as we’ve seen him,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Wakefield, who lost five straight starts prior to his recent resurgence. “He’s capable of getting on a roll. When he gets in a rhythm, that ball moves all over the place.”

The Red Sox ended Cleveland’s season-high nine-game winning streak by taking three straight at Jacobs Field last week. The Indians are trying to return the favor.

They took Monday’s series opener 7-0 and rallied for a 12-8 victory on Tuesday.

Travis Hafner hit a grand slam off Red Sox closer Keith Foulke during a five-run ninth inning, doubled twice and drove in six runs as Cleveland won its fourth straight.

Boston, which lost its second straight following a seven-game winning streak, overcame deficits of 4-1 and 5-3, and led 8-5 thanks to a five-run sixth inning. However, Foulke blew his third save in 18 chances in the ninth.

The Red Sox have not lost three in a row since a four-game skid from May 24-27.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Elarton MIN vs. T. Wakefield BOS
11-9 Record 16-12
4.61 ERA 4.15
103 K 151
48 BB 68
1.30 WHIP 1.23