CLEVELAND (AP) -- Nothing, or so it seems, is insurmountable to
these Boston Red Sox. Once you've foiled a curse, beaten back
history and mastered the Yankees in October, overcoming a two-run
deficit in June is pretty easy.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth, the Red Sox, who patented the
historic comeback last season, staged their 20th come-from-behind
win of the season and completed their first sweep at Jacobs Field
since May 1999.
"We play calm out there," said Johnny Damon, who came off the
bench and scored the tying run in the eighth. "We've been through
pressure before. We've dealt with it. We don't let too much bother
Boston has won four straight and nine of 10, and the defending
World Series champions are 11 games over .500 (41-30) for the first
time this season.
"We're right where we need to be," Damon said.
Renteria and John Olerud hit solo homers for Boston, which
improved to 3-26 when trailing after seven innings.
Jay Payton, batting leadoff for the first time this season,
doubled to open the ninth off Wickman (0-2) and went to third when
center fielder Grady Sizemore bobbled the ball on the warning track
for an error.
"I saw him [Sizemore] as I got to second, and then I just took
off," Payton said.
Renteria, whose 11th-inning single in Game 7 of the 1997 World
Series for Florida still haunts Cleveland fans, followed with his
double and the Red Sox hung on to improve to 11-7 in one-run games.
"We did some really good things to win," Red Sox manager Terry
Francona said. "That's a lose-able game."
Down to their final six outs, the Red Sox came back against
Cleveland's usually dependable bullpen in the eighth. Indians
relievers came in with the AL's lowest ERA (2.58) but couldn't
protect the lead for Lee.
In Boston's eighth, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Millar hit
consecutive one-out singles off Bob Howry before Olerud hit an RBI
single off lefty Arthur Rhodes, who then gave up Bill Mueller's
run-scoring single to tie it 4-4.
Lee had quieted Boston's big boppers, who had scored 19 runs and
bashed eight homers in winning the series' first two games. Before
being slowed by Lee, the Red Sox had scored six or more runs in 10
of their previous 12 games.
"They are a veteran team over there and they obviously showed
they know how to win close games," Lee said. "Hopefully, we can
get there, too."
Casey Blake had three hits and an RBI single for Cleveland,
which came into the series riding a nine-game winning streak.
The Indians were hoping to salvage at least one game against
Boston. Last season, Cleveland won 10 of 11 in August to get back
into the playoff race before dropping nine in a row and out of
"We were trying to keep this thing rolling," Wickman said,
"and we didn't get the job done."
Olerud evened it 2-all in the seventh with his first homer since
Sept. 30, when he was with the New York Yankees. The well-traveled
first baseman signed a minor league deal with Boston on May 1.
"I've seen him take that swing too many times," Francona said.
"I know his swing is a gift, but he works hard at it."
Ramirez, whose escapades while playing right field during his
eight seasons in Cleveland are legendary, misplayed Victor
Martinez's routine fly to left-center leading off the second.
Ramirez initially tracked the ball before he appeared to lose it
despite being in the shade and let it bounce past him. Martinez
went to second on Ramirez's first error in 112 chances and scored
on Jody Gerut's single.
Renteria tied it in the third with his sixth homer, a towering
shot into the left-field bleachers.
Sizemore extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12
games with a double in the first. During the streak, he's batting
.400 (20-for-50) with eight RBI. ... Damon did not start so he
could rest his sore right shoulder. He expects to be 100 percent by
Friday. "I'm a fast healer," he said. "Two days for me is an
eternity." ... Indians 3B Aaron Boone missed his second straight
game with strep throat. ... Ramirez has reached base safely in 22
straight games. ... The Indians are 12-18 in one-run games.