Jimenez awful as Indians lose 7-2 to Red Sox
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 6:21 AM
CLEVELAND (AP) - A night packed with emotion for Indians manager Terry Francona had a trace of frustration.
Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez walked five - two with the bases loaded - and allowed seven runs in two innings as the Indians were beaten 7-2 on Tuesday night by the Boston Red Sox, who were hoping to provide some comfort and a distraction for folks at home following the deadly bombings.
Francona's first game against his former team took on a somber tone following Monday's attacks in Boston, where three people were killed and more than 170 injured in blasts near the marathon's finish line. Francona remains fond of the city, where he spent eight years and where one of his daughters got married not far from the area bombed.
Before the game, Francona was moved by a moment of silence for the victims.
"You get so ramped up for a baseball game because it's so important to us and then you look up and realize why you're having a moment of silence," Francona said. "If you need perspective it gives it to you in a hurry."
The Indians were behind quickly as Jimenez (0-2), who retired the side in order in the first, fell apart in the second.
He walked in two runs, gave up a sacrifice fly and an RBI single and left the bases loaded for Cody Allen, who allowed Mike Napoli's three-run double.
Francona is trying to be supportive of Jimenez, who fell to 1-12 with a 7.27 ERA in 17 starts since last July.
"You can get frustrated or you can try to make it better," Francona said. "We choose to try and make it better. As long as he keeps working, we're going to work hard. We want to get it right."
Jimenez, who led the AL with 17 losses last season, offered no excuses for another poor outing.
"That's probably about as low as I can get, five walks in one inning," he said. "I don't want to keep going down. Things aren't going good right now. The last two games have been really bad. I felt good in the first inning but after that I just lost it."
Staked to the big lead, Felix Doubront (1-0) settled in and allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. He struck out seven.
Monday's tragic events in Boston brought a somber tone to Francona's reunion as well as to the Red Sox. Before the game, in a clubhouse devoid of its usual pregame sound and bustle, several players spoke of how a memorable Patriots Day win over Tampa Bay turned horrific.
"It's weird," pitcher Jon Lester said. "You see these things, it's like movies. For it to hit home like this, to be on that sidewalk plenty of times, eaten at those restaurants plenty of times, it hits right at home. It's a scary deal."
With the American flag clinging to the pole and at half-staff, the Red Sox and Indians, wearing black armbands, solemnly took the field for a moment of silence before the national anthem to honor those who lost their lives in the Boston bombings. As players placed their caps over their hearts, closed their eyes and bowed their heads, Boston's "B' logo appeared on the left-field scoreboard with "STRONG" written underneath.
And then before the first pitch, Fenway Park music standard "Sweet Caroline" filled the ballpark, another nod to Boston and moving forward.
"That was a very classy touch," Francona said.
Francona was hoping the game could bring Red Sox Nation - and everyone affected by the tragedy - some comfort.
"If it helps anybody at all, that would be terrific," he said. "I don't know how you quantify what happened. It's just unfair. I just hope maybe this game does help some people."
Cleveland did all it could to make the visitors welcome. A young Indians fan presented the Red Sox with a sign he wrote in red ink and ordained with hearts. The note, which was hung in Boston's dugout, read: "From our city to your city: Our hearts and prayers go out to you, Boston. Love, Cleveland."
The Red Sox hung a gray jersey with No. 617 - Boston's area code - above their bench during the game as a reminder that they were playing for more than each other.
For Francona, there will be another day to reflect and get nostalgic about his years in Boston.
This wasn't the time or place.
Francona did all he could to downplay his first meeting against the Red Sox since he was fired following the 2011 season, when Boston collapsed down the stretch.
The year he spent working as an ESPN analyst may have helped heal some of the hurt feelings, but Francona knows things will be different on Cleveland's visit to Boston next month.
"We're not in Boston. I had mostly eight really good years (there)," he said. "I don't think I would've scripted the end the way it ended. And you move on. Sometimes it's time to move on. I'm really happy where I'm at here, and I think it's unfair to the players for me to have like nostalgia week.
"Our job is to beat them. And it is 'them.'"
His starting pitcher didn't help.
Jimenez was atrocious in his two-inning stint.
Pedro Ciriaco hit a sacrifice fly and Jacoby Ellsbury had an RBI single off Jimenez, who was pulled after walking Dustin Pedroia to load the bases on his 59th pitch. As he walked slowly to the dugout, Indians fans let Jimenez know how they felt about his latest poor performance. He is 1-12 since the second half of last season.
Allen relieved Jimenez and gave up Napoli's three-run double to make it 7-0.
The Indians got a run off Doubront in the second on Mike Aviles' sacrifice fly. They had a chance to catch up in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. A passed ball with two outs got Cleveland within 7-2, but Doubront got Mark Reynolds to pop to short right and end the threat.
It's a good thing the Red Sox struck early. They struck out 16 times against five Cleveland pitchers.
NOTES: The Indians will place CF Michael Bourn on the 15-day disabled list in the next few days. Bourn sliced his finger open diving into first base Sunday and got stepped on by White Sox pitcher Matt Thornton. Francona wants to make sure LHP Scott Kazmir can pitch Saturday before making the roster move. ... To commemorate Jackie Robinson Day, both teams wore No. 42 jerseys. Francona was asked if Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby, the AL's first black player, should have his No. 14 retired. "He probably endured every bit as much, but you don't hear as much," he said. ... C Carlos Santana returned to the lineup and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.