Sports

Another Tough Night For Sox

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Bobby Valentine  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Bobby Valentine (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND (AP) _ Ubaldo Jimenez finally showed the kind of
command the Cleveland Indians want to see.

Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 for his first win in more
than a month and the Indians beat Boston 5-3 on Thursday night,
handing the Red Sox their seventh loss in nine games.

The performance came too late, however, to save the job of
pitching coach Scott Radinsky, who had worked with the talented but
erratic right-hander all season. Radinsky was fired by the Indians
earlier in the day.

“A great job by Ubaldo,” manager Manny Acta said. “That was
probably his best command of the fastball. He was just dotting it
on both sides.”

Jimenez (9-11) allowed three runs over six innings as Cleveland
won its second straight after losing 11 in a row. He had been 0-4
with an 8.41 ERA in five starts since beating Tampa Bay on July 7.

“This was the best for me,” Jimenez said. “I threw the
breaking ball for strikes as well as the fastball.”

Jason Donald hit a leadoff homer off Felix Doubront (10-6) and
drove in two runs for the Indians, who took a 4-3 lead with a
three-run fifth.

Chris Perez earned his 30th save in 34 chances. He pitched a
perfect ninth after blowing saves Sunday and Tuesday, allowing
eight runs over 1 1-3 innings in those two appearances.

It was Perez’s first clean-shaven outing of the season. The
All-Star closer cut off his scraggly beard before Wednesday’s game,
when Cleveland beat Minnesota to end its losing streak.

“It looked like we forgot how to play ball,” Perez said of the
embarrassing slide. “We want to win more than anybody, but
everybody went into a slump together.

“We’re 2-0 since I shaved, though. Baseball is a game of
adjustments. I had to do something.”

Asked to assess how Perez looked, Acta quipped: “Very white. He
needs a suntan now.”

Cleveland improved to 24-13 in series openers, second to the New
York Yankees’ 24-12.

It wasn’t how the Red Sox wanted to open a 10-game trip that
includes three-game series against AL East rivals Baltimore and New
York.

Boston ran itself into a double play in the seventh. With one
out and Pedro Ciriaco on second, Carl Crawford grounded a pitch
from reliever Tony Sipp to shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it
and threw to third, putting Ciriaco in a rundown. Cabrera took
third baseman Brent Lillibridge’s return throw, tagged Ciriaco,
then whirled and threw to second to nail Crawford, too.

“Pedro was a little overaggressive there,” Boston manager
Bobby Valentine said. “The ball was hit real hard. His first move
was to score.”

Jimenez leads the AL with 77 walks, but the only free pass he
issued Thursday was to the first batter of the game, Jacoby
Ellsbury.

“He was throwing the ball on the outside corner or wherever the
heck it was,” Valentine said. “He was getting every pitch called
a strike. That’s what I saw.”

Jimenez credited Radinsky with patiently and persistently
working to smooth out his delivery.

“I’m going to be always grateful for what he did for me,”
Jimenez said. “He did all he could to help. He’s going to be a
good pitching coach (somewhere) for a long time.”

Donald homered on the third pitch he saw from Doubront after
being recalled from Triple-A Columbus when designated hitter Travis
Hafner went on the disabled list with lower back inflammation.
Donald was a late lineup replacement for second baseman Jason
Kipnis, scratched with a sore neck.

Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the Boston fourth. Half
of Gonzalez’s six career hits off Jimenez have been homers. He was
5 for 28 against the right-hander before pulling a 1-1 pitch to
right.

Dustin Pedroia’s RBI single made it 3-1 in the fifth. Ellsbury
singled and got in scoring position by stealing second _ his third
steal of the game. Opponents are 30 for 34 stealing against
Jimenez’s deliberate delivery.

The Indians went back in front in the bottom half. They tied it
at 3 on an RBI double by Cabrera and Carlos Santana’s run-scoring
single. Andrew Miller came on with the bases loaded and yielded a
go-ahead sacrifice fly to Michael Brantley.

Donald’s RBI grounder in the eighth made it 5-3.

NOTES: Indians RHP Joe Smith termed Radinsky’s firing “a shock,
but the business side of baseball.” … Boston DH David Ortiz, out
since July 18 with a sore heel, is slated to run the bases Friday.
He could be activated Sunday. … Valentine said RHP Josh Beckett
felt no discomfort in his back or shoulder Wednesday when he
allowed eight runs in five innings to Texas in his first start
since July 31. … Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez is scheduled to
start Friday for Columbus. His three-week suspension for playing
under the false name of Fausto Carmona ends Saturday. … Red Sox
reliever Andrew Bailey (thumb surgery) struck out two in a
scoreless inning during a rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket.
Bailey, acquired from Oakland in the offseason to be Boston’s
closer, has been out since spring training.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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