He'll be the first to admit it's not always going to be moon beams and roses, but for the last two nights at Fenway Park that's exactly what it has been.
Rookie Shane Bieber pitched into the seventh inning and rookie Greg Allen played center field like he invented it as the Indians beat Boston, 6-3, Tuesday night. The first two games of this four-game series have gone the Indians way as the Red Sox have lost three straight for just the second time this year.
Bieber (7-3, 4.36) threw six scoreless innings in his first career start against Boston. He didn't make it out of the seventh as Boston strung together three straight hits that turned into three runs. The damage would have been worse if Allen didn't race deep into the triangle in center field to make a sliding catch of Mitch Moreland's drive. A run still scored on Moreland's long sacrifice fly, but who knows what would have happened if Allen didn't track the ball down.
The Indians took a 2-0 lead against hard-throwing Nathan Eovaldi (5-5, 3.81) in the fourth. They bunched four straight two-out hits in the rally.
Melky Cabrera, who finished a triple short of the cycle, started it with a single to right. Jason Kipnis sent him to third with another single to right. Yan Gomes scored Cabrera with a single to center and Allen doubled to left for the second run.
Allen has hit in 14 straight games, the longest streak by a rookie this season. He prepared for his catch against Moreland by taking on the center field wall in the fifth to steal extra bases from Xander Bogaerts.
Cabrera made it 3-0 with a leadoff homer to center field in the sixth. It was his third homer in as many games and his fifth in the last nine games.
The Indians added two more runs in the sixth to make it 5-0. Gomes and Allen, the No.8 and No.9 hitters, singled with one out. After Francisco Lindor struck out, Brantley singled to center to bring them home.
The Red Sox cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh. Andrew Benintendi opened the inning with a double. J.D Martinez singled to move him to third. Bogaerts doubled past third to score Benintendi and sent Martinez to third.
Moreland's sacrifice fly made it 5-2 and moved Bogaerts to third. Rookie Adam Cimber relieved and retired the next two batters, but not before Ian Kinsler delivered Bogaerts with a ground out to second.
Gomes answered the Red Sox with a homer in the eighth, his 12th, for a 6-3 lead.
Andrew Miller and Brad Hand followed Cimber with a scoreless inning each. Hand pitched the ninth for fifth save with the Indians and 29th overall. He had to pitch around an ugly error by Kipnis at second.
What it means
The Indians are tracking two potential playoff foes in the AL West. Yes, Houston and Oakland entered Tuesday once again tied for first place at 75-50. The Astros have lost eight of their last 10, while the A's have won seven of their last 10.
The Tribe went into Tuesday night's game trailing the Astros and A's by 2 1/2 games for the right to host the best-of-five ALDS in October.
Eovaldi threw 87 pitches, 63 (72 percent) for strikes. Bieber threw 82 pitches, 52 (63 percent) for strikes.
Michael Brantley's double in the fifth inning gave him an 11-game hitting streak at Fenway. It's the longest active streak at the Fens by a visiting player.
Brantley entered the game hitting .333 (49-for-147) in 39 games against the Red Sox. The double gave him as 13-game hitting streak overall against Boston. It's the longest by an Indians' player since Casey Blake's 16-gamer from 2005 through 2007.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Red Sox drew sellout crowd of 37,188 to Fenway Park on Tuesday night. First pitch was at 7:12 p.m. with a temperature of 70 degrees.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.33) will face the Red Sox and right-hander Brian Johnson (4-3, 4.00) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR will carry the game.
Carrasco is coming off a win over the Orioles in which he threw seven scoreless innings. He's 7-1 with a 1.73 ERA in nine starts since coming off the disabled list on July 6. Johnson will be facing the Indians for the first time. He's coming off a win against the Rays.