BOSTON (AP) -- With a game time temperature of 89 degrees, C.C.
Sabathia poured more heat on the Boston Red Sox.
His fastball reached the high 90s and he lasted eight innings to
lead the Cleveland Indians to a 6-3 victory Tuesday night that
snapped a three-game losing streak and knocked the Red Sox out of
first place in the AL East for the first time since June 18.
The Red Sox placed Jason Varitek on the disabled list Tuesday due to an ailing left knee. Varitek has caught 924 games since becoming the Red Sox's primary catcher in 1999, fourth-most in the major leagues over that span, behind Brad Ausmus (1,027), Jason Kendall (1,027) and Jorge Posada (1,012).With Varitek on the shelf, Doug Mirabelli should become the Sox's everyday catcher. Mirabelli has never caught more than six consecutive team games in his major league career.Curt Schilling, whose next start will probably be Friday, has had Jason Varitek as his catcher in each of his last 40 starts and in 64 of his 66 starts since joining Boston in 2004.
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"He had a great fastball from the first inning on and he had it
all the way through the eighth," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge
said.Sabathia (8-7) allowed one run, 10 hits and one walk while
striking out eight after losing his previous three decisions.
Another key stat: he figures he drank nine or 10 bottles of water
during the game."I didn't feel tired at all. It was just hot. I felt strong the
whole game," the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Sabathia said after throwing
111 pitches. "I wasn't trying to throw hard at all. The ball was
coming out of my hand pretty good."The Red Sox (63-42) dropped percentage points behind the New
York Yankees (62-41), who beat Toronto 5-1 on Tuesday night. Now
they must go on without catcher Jason Varitek, who went on the
disabled list and is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery for
cartilage damage in the left knee he twisted Monday night."We won't know the extent until they go in" and operate,
manager Terry Francona said. "This will give us a chance to prove
that we can overcome some adversity and be a good ballclub."Starting right fielder Trot Nixon went on the disabled list
Monday and starting pitchers Tim Wakefield and Matt Clement also
are on it."That's why they build this team for the bench guys to be able
to step up and fill in until the big guys can get back," said Doug
Mirabelli, Varitek's replacement.Casey Blake hit his third homer in two games to give Cleveland a
3-0 lead in the top of the third before former teammate Jason
Johnson (3-11) settled down.The Indians scored two runs in the first before Blake's 15th
homer. They added two in the seventh against Craig Hansen and one
in the eighth against Bryan Corey on Joe Inglett's second homer
just inside the right-field foul pole.Boston scored in the third on Mark Loretta's fourth homer, and
added two in the ninth on Alex Gonzalez's ninth home run."We couldn't really string that many hits together" against
Sabathia, Loretta said. "When he started to get in trouble, he
could reach back and hit 97-98 (mph) and that is tough to cover."The Indians suffered a tough 9-8 loss Monday night when David
Ortiz hit a winning, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.Sabathia said his performance "was definitely important,
especially after the loss last night."Johnson, traded by Cleveland on June 21, gave up a leadoff
single in the first to Grady Sizemore, who stole second and scored
on Jason Michaels' single. Michaels took third on a groundout and
scored on a single by Victor Martinez.Blake, who hit two homers Monday night, led off the third with
another for a 3-0 lead. Johnson retired the next eight batters
before leaving with two outs in the sixth.Hansen struggled in the seventh when Travis Hafner led off with
a double and scored on a single by Martinez, who moved up on a
passed ball by Mirabelli. Blake singled in Martinez.The Red Sox threatened in the fifth and were hurt by a
questionable call by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. Kevin
Youkilis singled and took second on Ortiz's two-out infield single.
Manny Ramirez then singled to left and Youkilis tried to score.He slid in as Martinez fielded the throw behind him and swiped
at Youkilis' helmet. Martinez appeared to miss the helmet and, even
if he did touch it, Youkilis' foot might have crossed the plate
first. Youkilis argued briefly and Francona ran onto the field and
protested mildly."Victor did a good job and I think he got him," Wedge said.
"It was just a quick catch and a quick tag."
Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the
longest in his six seasons with Boston. He is 10-for-16 in his
career against Sabathia after going 2-for-4. ... Sizemore went
3-for-5 with a single and two doubles. He has reached base in 92 of
105 games. ... Corey made his Red Sox debut two days after they
obtained him from Texas for minor league pitcher Luis Mendoza. ...
Blake is 4-for-6 with three homers and seven RBI in the first two
games of the series. ... Francona said 3B Mike Lowell was fine
after fouling a ball off his right foot in the eighth and leaving
the game in the top of the ninth.