CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians ran into trouble, and it wasn't just Josh Beckett.
Bad baserunning decisions combined with a strong outing by Beckett on Tuesday night gave the Boston Red Sox a 4-2 win over the Indians, who couldn't muster enough late-inning magic to overcome their mistakes as they lost for just the fifth time at home.
``We didn't do a very good job of taking care of our own 27 outs,' manager Manny Acta said. ``When you're facing a guy like Beckett, you have to make sure he works for every single one of those outs. We gave away a few on the bases. We're a very good team, but not that good to play with only 23 or 24 outs.'
Beckett (4-1) picked up his first regular-season win at Progressive Field - where he pitched an October gem four years ago - as the Red Sox snapped a five-game losing streak in Cleveland. Boston has won nine of 11 overall.
Cleveland had its chances against the right-hander, but had runners thrown out in four consecutive innings, allowing Beckett to stay out of trouble and keep his pitch count down.
The Indians, who have won eight times in their final at-bat at home, dropped to 19-5 in their ballpark.
``We always feel like we're going to string something together and come back,' said Orlando Cabrera, who was thrown out at third in the second inning. ``We feel like that every day. It just didn't happen tonight.'
Beckett allowed one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings for his only non-postseason win in Cleveland. He won here in the 2007 ALCS, pitching eight dominant innings in Game 5 as the Red Sox kept their season alive and eventually won the series.
Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Fausto Carmona (3-5), and Jonathan Papelbon got his ninth save as the Red Sox continued to make up ground in the standings. They are a league-best 15-7 in May, and in the thick of the AL East race after an 0-6 start.
Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double for Boston.
Travis Buck homered in the ninth for the Indians, whose aggressiveness on the basepaths backfired.
Cabrera was thrown out trying to go from first to third on an RBI single to end the second; Varitek gunned down would-be base stealers at second in the third and fourth; and Matt LaPorta got doubled off first for the final out in the fifth.
``He lost track of how many outs there were,' Acta said. ``Those are the kind of mistakes we can't afford to make.'
However, the bigger issue for the Indians was Beckett, whose only loss this season came in Cleveland on April 5. Since then, he's 4-0 with five no-decisions in nine starts.
``If you let him get into a rhythm, you're in trouble,' Acta said. ``He's got a good repertoire. He's got that breaking ball, that cutter and the fastball he can throw in the low to mid-90s. He's got them all. That's why you have to make sure he earns every single out.'
The right-hander was in complete control until giving up a two-out walk in the seventh. LaPorta followed with a hard single off third baseman Kevin Youkilis' glove, and Cabrera hustled into third, sliding in just ahead of a tag by Youkilis.
Boston manager Terry Francona then pulled Beckett, who wasn't thrilled about leaving. He kicked the grass and threw his gum before stepping down into the dugout. From there, he watched as Rich Hill struck out Jack Hannahan to end Cleveland's threat.
Papelbon gave up Buck's one-out homer in the ninth but was able to quiet the Indians, who have made a habit of winning close games at home.
Carmona pitched well, but is winless in his last four outings. He gave up four runs and five hits in eight innings.
``Fausto gave us a tremendous effort,' Acta said. ``He gave up an opportunity to win the game.'
Boston scored twice in the third off Carmona, who plunked Carl Crawford leading off. Crawford stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly. Gonzalez followed with a double, raising his major league-leading RBI total to 42.
Varitek's first homer in nearly a year made it 4-1. David Ortiz doubled leading off, and with one out, Varitek lined his first homer in 69 at_bats this season just inside the right-field foul pole.
NOTES: Indians C Carlos Santana is in an 0-for-19 slump. ... Indians CF Grady Sizemore will run the bases Wednesday, the final test for his bruised right knee before possibly being activated for Friday's series opener in Tampa Bay. By the time he's back, Sizemore will have missed 13 games. ... The Indians will activate RHP Mitch Talbot to start Wednesday. He has been out since April 17 with a sore right elbow.
The Associated Press News Service
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