Carmona blanks Boston for 8 as Indians beat Red Sox 1-0
His days as a closer are closed.
Carmona pitched eight shutout innings against the team that blasted him out of Fenway Park when he flopped in a tryout to save games last season, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 1-0 win on Wednesday night.
The 23-year-old Carmona, who gave up just four singles, was facing the Red Sox for the first time since blowing consecutive save chances in Boston last season, two outings three nights apart that all but finished the Indians’ experiment with him ending games.
Carmona reminisced about his personal Boston massacre on Tuesday, but the right-hander was able to block it out during a late July game that had October-like electricity.
“I had some hard times against them last year,” he said through his interpreter, Indians first-base coach Luis Rivera. “I didn’t want that to happen again.”
After all he had gone through, was Carmona looking forward to facing the Red Sox.
“Si, si,” he said laughing and smiling.
Carmona (13-4) improved to 5-0 with 1.57 ERA in July and raised his scoreless innings streak to 18. He was only slightly better than Josh Beckett (13-4), who lost on the road for the first time since last September.
After throwing 113 pitches, Carmona was replaced by Joe Borowski, who worked the ninth for his 29th save.
Carmona felt strong after eight innings, but wasn’t about to fight manager Eric Wedge to stay in.
“We have a closer,” he said, “and you let the closer close it.”
He would know.
And so would Borowski, who could sympathize with Carmona’s plight.
“I’m sure he’ll take what he has done this year over what happened last year,” he said.
The Red Sox had their winning streak stopped at five by Carmona, who baffled them by mixing sinkers and changeups in with a fastball in the mid-90s.
“Whew, man. I thought his stuff was impressive,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Josh had explosive stuff, too. He just left one pitch over the plate.”
Beckett, who dropped to 6-1 with a 1.62 ERA in seven road starts, nearly matched Carmona pitch for pitch, but gave up a solo homer to Franklin Gutierrez in the third as the Indians duplicated Boston’s 1-0 victory on Tuesday.
The Indians hadn’t followed a 1-0 loss with a 1-0 win since April 17-18, 1942.
“You don’t see that a whole heck of a lot,” manager Eric Wedge said. “I think it says a lot about our guys—their character and their fight.”
Beckett allowed four hits in his fourth career complete game and first since Aug. 13, 2005—a span of 60 starts—when he was with Florida.
Following the game, Beckett dressed slowly at his locker before addressing his tough-luck loss.
“All the results were good except for one pitch,” he said. “It was a (expletive) fastball down the middle.”
Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez made three standout plays to back Carmona, blocking the plate in the sixth to keep it 1-0 and throwing out two runners— one on a botched hit-and-run by Alex Cora—attempting to steal in the eighth.
Carmona, who went 1-10 last season and opened 2007 with his 11th consecutive loss, held the Red Sox without a hit for the first five, and it appeared he could be on his way to making history when Cora opened the sixth with a line drive that third baseman Casey Blake backhanded.
But with one out, Crisp grounded a ball through the middle that Jhonny Peralta stopped with a dive, but the shortstop couldn’t recover quickly enough to throw out Boston’s speedster.
Cleveland fans, who have not seen a no-hitter in 1,061 games over 13 years at Jacobs Field, gave Carmona a warm ovation before he threw his next pitch. Crisp moved up on a groundout and nearly tied it on Ortiz’s single.
Ortiz hit a grounder that second baseman Josh Barfield ran down in short right-center. With no chance to get Ortiz, Barfield held the ball but alertly threw home when Crisp decided to break for the plate.
Martinez scooped Barfield’s throw on the right side, and shifted his body across the plate, shielding Crisp from sliding under the tag to preserve Cleveland’s precarious lead.
“Coco had a chance and in this type of game you take it,” Francona said. “Victor did a great job of blocking the plate. If the throw’s just a little off there, Coco scores.”
Gutierrez put the Indians ahead in the third, leading off with his sixth homer. Gutierrez’s shot scattered fans on the home run porch in left and the souvenir nearly snaked its way through the iron gates behind the bleachers as a group of fans gave chase.
Carmona is tied with Beckett, Indians teammate C.C. Sabathia and Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs for the most wins in the majors. … Cleveland’s Ryan Garko went 0-for-3, hit into a double play and had his hitting streak stopped at 17 games. … Boston’s 1-0 win on Tuesday snapped a seven-game losing streak in one-run decisions, the club’s longest such slide since 1992.