CLEVELAND -- No one was more impressed than Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta.
He made that clear after Boston's Clay Buchholz dominated Cleveland's lineup with a two-hit complete game in the Red Sox's 3-2 victory Friday night.
"That's the best game I've seen pitched against us all year and it wasn't even a shutout," Acta said.
Buchholz needed just 104 pitches to snap Boston's three-game losing streak and Cleveland's modest two-game winning streak.
"All of his pitches were working on both sides of the plate," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said.
Asdrubal Cabrera had the only two hits for the Indians, a first inning home run and a double in the fourth inning. The only other Cleveland base runner reached on an error.
Buchholz faced the minimum three batters in six of the nine innings, retiring 27 of the 30 batters he faced as he improved his record to 10-3. In his last five starts Buchholz is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA and opposing batters are hitting 176 against him.
"For the most part I was able to miss the fat part of the bat," he said. "I felt good I was able to throw my cutter where I wanted to. My changeup was down all night."
In pitching his fifth career complete game, his second this year, Buchholz was masterful, and the Boston offense squeezed out just enough offense to win.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, Dustin Pedroia stroked a one-out single to center off left-hander Chris Seddon, the Cleveland starter.
Adrian Gonzalez flied out for the second out, but Cody Ross blasted a mammoth two-run home run over the wall in center field, giving Boston a 3-1 lead.
"I was just trying to drive the ball hard into the gap and I got some air under it," Ross said.
It was another big blow for Ross off a left-hander. He came into the game leading the major leagues with a .730 slugging percentage vs. left-handers. Ten of Ross' last 21 hits off left-handers have been home runs.
Cleveland countered with a gift run in the bottom of the sixth. Jason Donald led off the inning by hitting a bouncer up the middle. Pedroia charged the ball but whiffed on it for an error. The ball rolled into shallow center field where shortstop Mike Aviles picked it up and threw to first trying to get Donald, who took a wide turn.
Aviles' throw bounced out of play, allowing Donald to advance to third base. Ezequiel Carrera's sacrifice fly drove in Donald and cut the Boston lead to 3-2.
Seddon (0-1) pitched six solid innings for Cleveland, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits. Seddon held Boston scoreless on one hit through the first three innings.
In the fourth, Seddon walked Aviles with one out, then threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt. Aviles raced all the way to third base and scored on a single by Pedroia that tied it at 1-1.
In addition to his first inning home run, Cabrera belted a leadoff double in the fourth inning, but was left stranded by Buchholz, who seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. Following Carrera's sacrifice fly in the sixth, Buchholz retired the last 12 batters he faced to end the game.
NOTES: Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks left the game in the ninth inning after getting hit on the right wrist by a pitch from Esmil Rogers. No x-rays were taken, but Valentine said Middlebrooks won't play Saturday. ... Valentine said left-hander Felix Doubront, who has struggled in recent starts, will be replaced in the rotation for at least one turn by Aaron Cook. Doubront gave up four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings and was the losing pitcher in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland Thursday. ... Outfielder Scott Podsednik, signed by Boston Friday, is expected to be used as a fourth outfielder and was in the starting lineup in left field Friday. ... Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, who is on the disabled list with a bulging disk, is on anti-inflammatory medication and was given an epidural Friday. ... Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, made his last scheduled minor league rehab start Friday night for Class AAA Columbus. Acta said he expects the Indians to activate Hernandez and put him in the starting rotation next week.
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