September 1, 2014

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Putting demons to rest

Carmona shines in  silencing Red Sox

CLEVELAND — Fausto Carmona was able to exorcise some of his demons from last season against Boston on Wednesday night.
After the Indians’ 1-0 victory, the Red Sox gave the censors some exercise with several profanity-laced interviews.
Carmona had a meltdown as the Indians’ closer last year — highlighted by two blown saves over a three-day stretch at Fenway Park. The most memorable was a walk-off three-run home run by David Ortiz.
Carmona (13-4) sent Big Papi to the bench with a pair of swinging strikeouts in his first two appearances on Wednesday, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and came away with the win after throwing eight shutout innings and allowing just four hits.
“I felt very good tonight,” said Carmona, who said he thought about last year’s performance Tuesday but put it out of his mind once he stepped on the mound. “I had some hard times against them last year. I knew they were a team that I had to bear down against because of what happened last year.”
Carmona allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings — on a pair of walks and a hit batter — and didn’t allow any Red Sox past second base during the game. He struck out six and induced 10 groundball outs — including a double play in the second inning.
“He was pretty good tonight,” Red Sox first baseman Eric Hinske said. “He was throwing his sinker 94, 95, 96 (mph) all night on the outside half. He kept us off-balance with his change-up — he deserves credit.
“We were just trying to have good at-bats, trying to get on base — we just couldn’t string anything together tonight.”
The performance came at a great time for Carmona as he was facing Josh Beckett, who entered the game with a
13-3 record.
Beckett matched Carmona pitch-for-pitch until Indians left fielder Franklin Gutierrez hit a 1-0 pitch onto the home run porch in left field to score the game’s only run.
“(It was a) fastball right down the (bleep) middle,” Beckett said. “I felt good — all the results except for that one pitch were really good.”
Beckett matched Carmona in giving up just four hits, and righted the ship after Gutierrez’s home run by retiring 14 straight Indians hitters. But it wasn’t enough as the Red Sox offense couldn’t get a run across.
“I don’t give a (bleep) about that,” Beckett said. “I have to go out there and get outs. That’s hard enough without worrying about 24 other guys.”
Other fiery responses in the Red Sox clubhouse were spurred by Boston running itself out of several potential scoring opportunities. Coco Crisp was out at the plate during a baserunning blunder in the sixth inning, Alex Cora was caught stealing in the eighth and Jason Varitek was gunned down when Cora didn’t swing on a hit-and-run in the eighth inning.
“I missed the sign,” Cora said. “That (bleep) happened the other day and I (bleep) bunted and the guy got thrown out at third, so it’s cost us two games. I’ve done a (bleep) job at the plate. People expect me to come in and do a good job, and the last few days I’ve done a (bleep)(bleep) … (bleep)(bleep) job.”
While Beckett and his teammates were obviously unhappy with the job they did, they still managed to save praise for Carmona.
“He pitched a great game,” Beckett said. “He just took it pitch by pitch — it was pretty impressive. Not too many people do that to our lineup.”
Boston manager Terry Francona said it was like watching Tuesday night’s 1-0 Red Sox win — where Daisuke Matsuzaka outdueled C.C. Sabathia — all over again.
“Whew, man. (Carmona’s) ’bout as tough as Beckett,” Francona said. “It was just like last night, except it was a lot more fun to talk about last night.
“(Carmona) had explosive stuff. The change-up, the breaking ball — it was impressive.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or sbennett@chroniclet.com.