CLEVELAND — When a baseball team makes a baserunning blunder, it’s called running yourself out of an inning.
When the Cleveland Indians had baserunners thrown out in four consecutive innings Tuesday, they ran themselves out of the game.
A pair of runners were caught stealing, another was thrown out at third and one Indians player suffered a mental meltdown — all helping the Boston Red Sox pull out a 4-2 win. It was Boston’s first win in five tries at Progressive Field this season, and it snapped a five-game home winning streak for the Indians.
“We didn’t do a very good job taking care of our 27 outs,” manager Manny Acta said. “We gave a few of them back on the bases and you just can’t do that against a good team like that, especially when you’re facing a pitcher that’s performing as well as (Josh Beckett) was tonight.
“We are a very good team, but we’re not good enough to only use 23 or 24 of our outs.”
The Indians were poised for a big second inning when Travis Buck beat the throw for an infield single and Orlando Cabrera was hit with a pitch to put two men on with no outs. Beckett struck out the next two batters, but rookie Ezequiel Carrera singled to center field to score Buck. Cabrera tried to go from first to third, but Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw beat him by 10 feet.
“I saw (Ellsbury) was playing shallow,” Cabrera said. “So I thought that he would have a shot at (Buck) going home. I thought it would be a good chance to try to get the extra base.”
“He was thrown out so I guess he shouldn’t have tried to go to third,” Acta said. “He’s a good baserunner and he’s always been aggressive on the basepaths.”
In the third inning, Shin-Soo Choo was gunned down easily trying to steal second with two outs, and Buck was thrown out trying to steal second in the fourth — also with room to spare.
“It just seemed like we couldn’t get anything working offensively,” Acta said.
The biggest gaffe came in the fifth after Matt LaPorta led off with a single through the left side. Jack Hannahan flew out to center field, then Carrera lined a shot toward left-center that Ellsbury easily ran under.
Unfortunately for the Indians, when the ball settled into the outfielder’s glove, LaPorta was closing in on third base. A quick throw to the shortstop and another to first base made it an inning-ending double play.
“I just lost count (of the outs),” said LaPorta, who went 2-for-4. “It was a huge mental mistake. If we want to be a championship ballclub, we can’t be doing things like that.”
The first baseman was quick to take the blame for his error, but said the other three outs on the bases were just a matter of the Indians taking chances and doing the things that have won them many games this season.
“You want to go out there and put pressure on the opposing team,” LaPorta said. “When you do that, there are times you’re going to run into outs … that’s just going to happen.
“Unfortunately it happened to us over and over tonight.”