CLEVELAND — The Red Sox did not take their Game 1 defeat in stride.
Following the 5-4 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field on Thursday, starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who allowed three home runs in the third inning, and pitching coach Carl Willis implied that Cleveland stole signs.
“Yeah, you never know,” Willis, who was Cleveland’s pitching coach from 2003-09, told the Boston Herald. “I don’t think (Porcello’s change-up) was bad by any means, just they seemed to be ready for it.”
Porcello, a Cy Young candidate, served up a solo homer to No. 9 hitter Roberto Perez to tie the game at 2, then two more in the third to Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor.
“Change-up to Francisco Lindor. I’ve thrown that pitch a lot this year and I haven’t really got hurt by it,” Porcello said. “Got hurt by it there. You kind of spin it however you want to spin it, but I threw the pitches that I thought were going to be the best to throw and they hit three balls out of the ballpark.”
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon told reporters that Boston changed its signs after the third inning, but manager John Farrell tried to defuse the situation prior to Game 2 on Friday.
“Those pitches were mis-located pitches. (The Indians are) good hitters,” Farrell said. “We made pitches up in the zone and paid for it. But I think inside of any game if you don’t have the ability to change signs, you know what, you’re probably a step or two behind.”
Indians manager Terry Francona was perplexed by Boston’s claims, joking that his players barely knew their own signs.
Boston’s complaints didn’t end there. In addition to Dustin Pedroia yelling at umpires after being rung up on a check swing to end the game, slugger David Ortiz questioned the strike zone for Indians reliever Andrew Miller.
It is not the first time Ortiz took issue on a strikeout against Miller. He voiced his displeasure during a game this season while Miller was with the Yankees.
On Thursday, Ortiz was upset with a strikeout that ended the fifth inning with runners on first and third.
“It’s so frustrating facing Miller because it seems like every pitch is a strike,” Ortiz told Boston reporters. “I mean, I got two strikes and not one of those pitches was a strike. They were down in the zone. So that’s the second time that happened with me and him.
“But anyway, he’s very filthy and you just hope to God for him to make a mistake.”
Lost in Perez’s big-time Game 1 performance was the catcher’s ability to block balls in the dirt.
With the Indians clinging to a one-run lead and a runner on third, Perez kept numerous pitches in the dirt from closer Cody Allen in front of him to prevent a wild pitch that could have scored the tying run.
“Roberto did a really good job,” Allen said. “I think I bounced probably 17 breaking balls and he swallowed them all up, so hat’s off to him.”
Of course, Perez was most recognized for hitting the first of Cleveland’s three third-inning homers and for a perfect swipe tag on Brock Holt to end the first inning.
LeBron James and members of the Cavaliers, including Richard Jefferson and unsigned J.R. Smith, were introduced prior to Game 2. James and Smith wore Indians gear, with Smith sporting a Corey Kluber jersey.
With microphone in hand, James addressed the crowd.
“We’re here for these guys,” he said, pointing toward the Indians dugout.
The King and his court left to a rousing ovation from the sellout crowd.
“It was cool,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “I love when the other teams go and support everyone else. I know me and some guys go and try to see Cavs games all the time. Unfortunately, our season conflicts with the Browns a little bit.
“It’s one big city. They love their sports and they like when their sports teams support each other. You’ve got a guy that is as big as he is in stature, to come out and support us and hype them up, you saw the response — it worked.”
- Since joining the Indians, Miller has faced 111 batters, striking out 50 and walking three.
- Former Indians pitcher Len Barker, the only Cleveland pitcher to toss a perfect game, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
- The Indians and Red Sox will hold workouts today at Fenway Park in preparation for Game 3 on Sunday.
- Right-hander Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Cleveland, while Boston counters with right-hander Clay Buchholz (8-10, 4.78).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.
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